Spotify CEO Daniel Ek made a decision that has fans and artists alike fuming and raging.
The news came recently that Ek had invested €100 million in AI defense technology company, Helsing, and has been causing a stir since.
The million-euro deal came via Ek’s €1 billion Prima Materia investment company. The British-German company is initially developed to sell to the French, British and German militaries. In addition to the investment, Ek is also going to be joining the board at Helsing. As per the companies website their aim is to use artificial intelligence as the key capability to keep liberal democracies from harm.
An overwhelming outburst in response to Ek’s tweet about this news angered fans enough to cancel subscriptions and jump to competitors like Tidal and Bandcamp. It also got the hashtag #BoycottSpotify trending.
#BoycottSPOTIFY now! Cancel your subscription today. Artists and music lovers must not support the military #AI industry! Register your anger at the #Spotify involvement in sponsorship of Arms Corporations. This is so vile. Music is NOT War! Just wrong on every level. https://t.co/5k4Wnv6zj0
— Darren Sangita (@darrensangita) November 22, 2021
Discussing the issue further with Resident Advisor Darren Sangita said, “AI means using computers to process information a hundred times faster so they accurately deliver a higher kill ratio. Music is being used as a weapon. I can’t sign up to that, so I’ve already unsubscribed and now plan to take all my music down from Spotify […] We believe in music as a powerful tool for peace, otherwise it’s a complete contradiction of our music philosophy.”
In addition to the comments that flooded the post, RA found that 80% of the respondents on Twitter weren’t happy with the decision and 95% of retweets about the news were also negative.
Today, I am proud to announce that @PrimaMateria_ is investing €100m in @HelsingAI & that I am joining the board.
Prima Materia was founded to partner with teams like Helsing. Ambitious, ethical, & driven by a mission to help build a thriving society.https://t.co/46XsanjlLx
— Daniel Ek (@eldsjal) November 9, 2021
Enough is enough – using our content to fund war is the final straw – @Spotify @spotifyartists #boycottspotify pic.twitter.com/7JoGGb21Fg
— Saint Martyn (Ryanne Martyn) (@saintmartyn) November 30, 2021
Just cancelled my @Spotify subscription. The CEO has given €100m, that he’s leeched from artists over the years, to a military company using AI weaponry.
If I had the power to pull my music off those platforms I would. #boycottspotify https://t.co/W0c1C1gzWS
— Janey (@janeyjstarling) November 30, 2021
I really value my Spotify membership. It is great to have music at my fingertips, and it helps my flute playing.
But if Spotify is going to get mixed up in the arms industry, I am going to have to cancel my membership and start over.
— Dr Richard Lawson (@DocRichard) December 1, 2021
I just created a 95% discount on my entire @Bandcamp for anyone else who is cancelling their @Spotify. I'll send you the discount code. just do this: 1) cancel your Spotify, 2) send me a DM saying you did it 3) go to https://t.co/c1iM3RdpYv to redeem your discount 4) feel better
— Sameer Gupta (@tablajazz) November 18, 2021
Fuck Spotify. I had 3 soundtracks ready for ttrpg module sprawlscape. just found out that the CEO invested €100 million in AI defence tech company. I'm closing the account, need to find another way to deliver the mixtapes. Pirate cassettes anyone? Vinyl DJ set? #BoycottSpotify pic.twitter.com/gqEYB9F0wz
— Alex Mangusta (@MangustaExpress) November 30, 2021
Anyway I did a long wordy thing about why I'm joining in with #boycottspotify and how you can still listen to my music if you want to. https://t.co/S7ohVNgJz0
— Steve McCarthy / Steve and the Sea (@stvmccrthy) November 29, 2021
Check out further details and comments from Labels and Artists on the matter here.
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