R.I.P. Paul Allen

Music News

Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, Chairman, and Founder of Vulcan Inc., died today in Seattle complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was 65. Among Allen's entrepreneurial pursuits, he also was the famed owner of the Seattle Seahawks, the Portland Trailblazers, a partial owner of the Seattle Sounders FC, and a vocal fan and supporter of music. Most recently, he founded the Upstream Music Fest + Summit that has taken place in Seattle's Pioneer Square in 2017 and 2018. Allen was also a notable supporter for this very station

In 2001, Paul Allen made a transformative $3.6M gift to then-KCMU, which resulted in the station becoming independent of the University of Washington, and changing call-letters to KEXP. This venture philanthropy also allowed the station to grow and become financially self-sufficient within three years, made possible investments in technology, in particular, technology that allowed KEXP to become an early leader in internet radio, as well as investments in new partnerships with the University of Washington’s School of Music and the Experience Music Project, now known as MoPop. Mr. Allen again supported KEXP with a $500,000 gift in 2016, which helped the organization complete a $15.7M fundraising campaign to build a new facility at Seattle Center.

“Today, we say goodbye to Paul Allen with great sadness,” said KEXP Executive Director Tom Mara. “He will be missed and mourned by a city that owes him an amazing debt of gratitude. His massive support of KEXP 17 years ago came at a crucial time - it allowed KEXP to become the independent, forward-looking, mission-focused organization it is today. Paul was a lover of music; he had a deep understanding of its power and its ability to not only enrich lives, but to make the world a better place. He translated that passion for the power of music into countless projects that will live on for years and years. Our condolences go out to Paul’s family and friends in this difficult time.”

KEXP shares our official statement below: 

"Paul Allen was a true champion of music, and in particular music of the Pacific Northwest. It would not be an overstatement to say that KEXP would not exist as it does today without the backing of Paul Allen at a crucial time. His belief in the power of music will endure through the organizations and artists that he supported. Thank you. Rest in Peace, Paul."


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