To get into the Australia Day spirit and to take a stand against Triple J moving its Hottest 100 music countdown from the day Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi created his own Australian music countdown playlist on music streaming service Spotify. He also encouraged his followers to vote for their favourite Australian songs on the Australian Conservatives website and on the twitter hashtag AC#100.
Of course because Bernardi is a conservative politician and the music industry is dominated by artist who hold left wing views many of them were triggered by the fact that Bernardi was a fan of theirs and included their songs on his list. The outrage was led by Savage Garden lead singer Darren Hayes who demanded his band’s song be removed from the playlist or else he would take legal action. He was joined by the Hilltop Hoods who said to Bernardi “go fuck yourself'”. They were then joined by Powderfinger, Men At Work lead singer Colin Hay and Jimmy Barnes.
Bernardi in several media appearances yesterday rightly stated what has become of our society that if you hold different political views from a music artists you are somehow not allowed to enjoy their music or encourage others to listen to it “The idea that we live in this totalitarian society now where these vainglorious artists and activists in the community can tell the rest of us what we’re allowed to enjoy is incredible, and I’m not going to stand for it anymore”.
As we have come to expect from corporations eager to display their social justice advocacy Spotify removed Bernardi’s playlist for containing “inappropriate or offensive content”.
It was highlighted by some given that this denial to use a service to a person with conservative views was spearheaded by a gay man (Hayes) can you imagine the outrage if the roles were reversed and the cries of discrimination?
Spotify elaborated on their decision which included a statement to affirm their commitment to diversity “Spotify has actively supported marriage, gender, and indigenous equality initiatives over the last five years, and believes in a diverse and multicultural Australia. We want to make clear we do not endorse this playlist, nor do we have any official ties to the Australian Conservatives party nor any other political party”.
It also claimed the playlist was a violation of their terms of service “The Brand may not create or share any Spotify playlists, whether within the Spotify Service or elsewhere, that imply an endorsement or relationship between the Brand and any artist or any other party, unless the Brand has independently obtained the rights to imply such an endorsement. Brands may wish to consult Spotify’s Brand Playlist Guidelines”.
It has now been reported that playlist itself has not been removed from Spotify but the title of Australia Day countdown has instead been removed with Spotify telling Australian music news website Music Feeds “We are looking into this particular matter further but it’s our understanding the playlist is available to listeners”. It is likely that this is a backup playlist which Bernardi told Sky News he created in case the original was deleted from Spotify.
If Bernardi’s playlist is to be removed because it is offensive and appears to imply a relationship between Spotify, the artists and Australian Conservatives then there is another playlist which should be removed from the streaming platform. Leftist rag Junkee who has been leading the pile on against Bernardi with no less than four articles on the subject created their own playlist for him with the list of song titles having the sole purpose of abusing him with some of them containing obscenities.
Sadly now it looks like Spotify has joined the other major social media corporations in censoring the activity of conservatives who use their platform. Yes I agree with the principle of freedom of association that Spotify as a private company has the right to deny access to its platform, but we are allowed to criticize Spotify’s behavior and state it is not contributing to a healthy society.
The reaction to the AC100 is a sign that now everything including music tastes is now becoming politicized.