In respect of its subject matter, much popular music tends to be introspective and parochial. Its focus rarely falls upon international affairs and global politics. However, there are instances when popular music does engage with wider, political issues and even affects the relations between states. This article draws attention to some of these instances, from the recent imprisonment of Pussy Riot in Russia to Live 8 in 2005. It asks how and when music comes to engage with the geopolitics of human rights and what impact it might have.