Playing for Change is a multimedia music project, created by the American producer and sound engineer Mark Johnson with his Timeless Media Group, that seeks to bring together musicians from around the world. Playing For Change also created a separate non-profit organization called the Playing For Change Foundation which builds music schools for children around the world.
The project's first single "Stand by Me", began with a Santa Monica street performer named Roger Ridley (now deceased). The duo traveled the world, recording more and more musicians. All of these versions were considered for mixing a pastiche final version.
The Playing for Change Foundation is a non-profit organization 501(c)3, dedicated to creating and supporting music schools, principally in developing countries. Three music schools and a total of seven music programs have been created since 2008:
In 2011, the Playing for Change Foundation joined forces with the 1Love Foundation in order to establish an annual Playing for Change Day. The goal of the annual Playing for Change Day is to “unite a global community through the power of music to affect positive social change”. In 2012, the PFC Day consisted of over 330 events across 52 countries and helped raise over $150,000 for the Playing for Change and 1Love Foundations.
A CD/DVD compilation Playing For Change: Songs Around The World was released in 2009 on the Concord Music Group label. The CD has 10 songs. The DVD has seven tracks, including video versions of five of the songs that appeared on the CD, plus a video film, The Playing for Change Foundation. The DVD also contains a three-minute trailer of the documentary film Peace Through Music.
In October 2009 an 83-minute documentary film, Peace Through Music, directed by Mark Johnson and Jonathan Walls, was released on DVD. The directors and their crew travelled the world recording and filming musicians in places such as USA, Barcelona, Ireland, the Middle East, India, Nepal, and South Africa. The film includes the clips from the CD/DVD, interviews and musical performances.
The Playing For Change website also sells the tracks in MP3 format via download, although this is limited to US customers only. The album was also released on iTunes in April 2009.