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Why Some Artists Have Joined a Call to ‘Boycott Spotify’

We have known there is plenty wrong w Spotify from an independent artist perspective, for a long time. From super low royalty payouts while streaming revenue goes to bloated middle management salaries, to now, exposed investment in military, allegedly anti human AI companies, musicians are now rallying together to Boycott Spotify.

Veteran U.K. psychedelic-music producer Darren Sangita did not register a blip with Spotify when he pulled his music from the streaming service last month. “I’m a zed-list music celebrity,” he says. But he couldn’t support a company whose founder, Daniel Ek, invested more than $114 million in Helsing, a European security startup that manufactures artificial-intelligence software to “keep liberal democracies from harm.” We could ask which liberal democracies? The same ones that are locking down their populations with unlawful mandates? The early-November investment from Ek’s year-and-a-half-old company, Prima Materia, sparked a “boycott Spotify” social-media movement that has gradually advanced beyond the Z-list. Skee Mask, a German techno producer and DJ, discouraged his 16,900 Twitter followers earlier this month from giving their “last penny to such a wealthy business that obviously prefers the development of warfare instead of actual progression in the music business.” The investment in Helsing, whose executives told the Financial Times they specialize in using infrared, sonar and radio frequencies from military-vehicle sensors to help soldiers detect enemy drones and hostile troops, adds to Spotify’s history of irritating artists on its platform. Although all three major labels have a stake in the company, and audio streaming grew 12.6% in 2021, according to MRC Data, artists from Paul McCartney to David Crosby have criticized the platform for its low royalty payments. “It’s such a small percentage,” McCartney said last year.


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