Select Page

EarthX White Logo


The Outlaw Ocean Music Project

The Outlaw Ocean
Music Project

Listen The Project Behind the Music On Youtube

EarthX is proud to support The Outlaw Ocean Music Project which convenes hundreds of musicians from dozens of countries around a shared artistic goal. All of the music is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times best-selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness on the high seas.

This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

While reporting for more than 5 years at sea, Urbina built an audio library of field recordings. It featured a diversity of textured and rhythmic sounds like machine-gun fire off the coast of Somalia and chanting captive deckhands on the South China Sea.

This project is meant as an act of solidarity across geographies and languages. It is also an attempt at an alternative form of storytelling and an experiment in translation from the written word into music. On the simplest level though this is simply a captivating collection of inspired songs, which range from electronic and ambient to classical and hip hop.

Sampling these field recordings and using recorded passages from the book, the musicians sought to capture the emotions in this journalism, while also raising awareness about the dire need to protect this offshore realm and the millions of people who work out there.


Below are some stories of select artists and their inspiration behind their music for The Outlaw Ocean Music Project. To view the full global roster of more than 400 artists in more than 50 countries, visit the project website.

Black Water
Vancouver, Canada

Laura Sullivan

Laura Sullivan
Born of the Sea
San Francisco, USA

Olivia Belli
Ocean Voices
Fermo, Italy

Vince Watson
Glasgow, Scotland


De Osos
Leave Me By The Ocean & Forget Me There
Mexico City, Mexico

The Founder: Ian Urbina

Ian Urbina is the author of The New York Times bestseller, “The Outlaw Ocean,” which is based on five years of reporting, much of it offshore, exploring lawlessness on the high seas. He is also the director of the journalistic non-profit, The Outlaw Ocean Project, which chronicles environmental, labor and human rights abuses at sea.

He is also an investigative reporter who writes most often for The New York Times, but is also a contributing writer for The Atlantic, and a regular contributor to National Geographic. The book chronicles a diversity of crimes offshore, including the killing of stowaways, sea slavery, intentional dumping, illegal fishing, the stealing of ships, gun running, stranding of crews, and murder with impunity.

As a journalist, his investigations typically focus on worker safety and the environment, and he has received a Pulitzer, a Polk, and has been nominated for an Emmy. Ian has also recently launched The Outlaw Ocean Music Project, which involves a collaboration of more than 400 artists from over 50 countries, making music from journalism.

View Full Bio