Artists boycott Spotify as CEO invests €100m in AI defense tech: “It’s a complete contradiction of our music philosophy”

Artists are taking to social media to call on their fans to unsubscribe from the streaming service.

Daniel Ek

Image: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Artists and users have directed sharp criticism at Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s decision to invest €100 million in an AI defense tech startup, describing the move as unethical and a “complete contradiction” of music’s philosophy.

On 9 November, Ek announced on Twitter his funding of Helsing, a Berlin-based startup which describes itself as a “new type of security and artificial intelligence company.” According to Financial Times, the firm has plans to sell its platform direct to the militaries of France, Britain and Germany.

The deal has miffed users and artists alike, including electronic music producer Darren Sangita, who called for a boycott the streaming platform. “Music is being used as a weapon,” Sangita told Resident Advisor. “We believe in music as a powerful tool for peace, otherwise it’s a complete contradiction of our music philosophy.”

Australian vaporwave producer  b l u e s c r e e n similarly denounced the move, telling Resident Advisor: “There’s nothing ethical about it, no matter how you spin it. I also left because it became apparent very quickly that Spotify’s CEO, as all billionaires, only got rich off the exploitation of others.”

Berlin-based DJ and curator Opium Hum similarly left the platform, tweeting: “Today, I am proud to announce that after having been a Spotify user since the beta in 2007, I canceled my account because of this, driven by a mission to help build a thriving society — which AI-powered weapons systems are most certainly not part of.”

Brooklyn-based percussionist-composer Sameer Gupta urged his followers to quit the platform by offering his discography on Bandcamp for a 95 per cent discount.

logo

Get the latest news, reviews and tutorials to your inbox.

Subscribe
logo

The world’s leading media brand at the intersection of music and technology.

Join our mailing list

Sign Up Now

© 2022 MusicTech is part of NME Networks.