In a world filled with frothy pop songs and multimillionaire musicians, it’s not often that a song goes to the top of the iTunes chart based purely on ethical reasons.
That’s exactly what’s happened in Austria, however, where a recorded minute of silence in honor of asylum-seekers trying to escape from countries of conflict has shot to No. 1 on the iTunes music chart — with the money raised going to a local refugee project.
The one-minute track was recorded by visual artist Raoul Haspel, who aims to “defy tradition with his work.” The track retails for 99 cents, although it is not yet available to download, and the No. 1 downloads slot is based entirely on preorders.
This isn’t the first time artists have recorded silent “music.” In 1952, experimental American composer John Cage “composed” the track “4′33″,” which consists of four minutes 33 seconds of total silence.
More recently, indie funk band Vulfpeck created an album in 2014 called Sleepily that is composed of silent tracks, which they encouraged fans to listen to over and over while they slept to rack up royalties for the artists. The cheeky concept earned $20,000 for the group before Spotify finally wised up and got rid of it.
Neither of those two concepts have the integrity of Haspel’s concept, though. You can preorder his track “Schweigeminute (Traiskirchen)” here.