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Facebook vs Apple

January 30, 2021

Facebook and Apple… two of the world’s biggest tech companies, and they could not be more different to each other. Their newest beef about privacy and tracking has gotten some pretty heavy media coverage recently, and for good reason. This is likely going to change digital advertising and content consumption models for the long haul.

WHAT’S THE BACKGROUND STORY

It’s important to note that both Facebook and Apple list privacy in their core values. Here are Facebook’s:

  • Give People a Voice: People deserve to be heard and to have a voice — even when that means defending the right of people we disagree with.
  • Build Connection and Community: Our services help people connect, and when they’re at their best, they bring people closer together.
  • Serve Everyone: We work to make technology accessible to everyone, and our business model is ads so our services can be free.
  • Keep People Safe and Protect Privacy: We have a responsibility to promote the best of what people can do together by keeping people safe and preventing harm.
  • Promote Economic Opportunity: Our tools level the playing field so businesses grow, create jobs and strengthen the economy. (Source)

And here are Apple’s:

  • Accessibility: Built‑in features that work the way you do. Make them yours, and make something wonderful.
  • Education: Giving products, support, and opportunities to schools that need them most. Apple has been part of the ConnectED initiative since 2014, pledging $100 million of teaching and learning solutions to 114 underserved schools across the country. We’ve donated an iPad to every student, a Mac and iPad to every teacher, and an Apple TV to every classroom. And we’ve implemented a process that provides planning, professional learning, and ongoing guidance so every school can experience the transformational power of technology.
  • Environment: Apple is carbon neutral. And by 2030, all of our products will be too. We’re designing the world’s most innovative products from recycled materials. Soon we’ll make them all with clean energy and no carbon footprint. Some say it’s impossible. At Apple, we think different.
  • Inclusion & Diversity: At Apple, we’re not all the same. And that’s our greatest strength. We draw on the differences in who we are, what we’ve experienced, and how we think. Because to create products that serve everyone, we believe in including everyone.
  • Privacy: Privacy is a fundamental human right. At Apple, it’s also one of our core values. Your devices are important to so many parts of your life. What you share from those experiences, and who you share it with, should be up to you. We design Apple products to protect your privacy and give you control over your information. It’s not always easy. But that’s the kind of innovation we believe in.
  • Supplier Responsibility: Living up to our highest ideals takes the same hard work and innovative spirit we devote to our products. Labor, human rights, and environmental protections are the foundation of our Supplier Code of Conduct. And we go further to empower the people in our supply chain and to leave the world better than we found it — all while working with partners to get us there faster.

Both name drop privacy and also hold the community close. But Facebook’s values are a more top level, external to them and holistic (giving people a voice, building community, promote economic opportunities). The big ones here are the democratisation and equal accessibility of information/platform use. The privacy value is slightly at odds with this.

Apple’s values are more internal facing, and more product-focused. Their idea of accessibility is that their products are able to be used by those with all vision, mobility, hearing and cognitive abilities. Apple’s key work for community building is by supporting education/schools through providing their products/software, and making sure their supply chain is ethical and empowering. Apple do care about inclusivity and diversity, but have NOT listed equality as a value. (More info about the very important distinctions between inclusivity, diversity and equality here. Also fun fact – Apple is not a particular diverse company either by gender or ethnicity.)

These values serve as a good background to how their content consumption models are diametrically opposed. Facebook believes content should be free to consumer or create (i.e. avoiding a situation where only rich white people can check out valuable content, and only rich white people can serve their content to the masses). Apple believes in privacy, and does not value content accessibility as a core value.

Mark Zuckerberg does acknowledge the gripe people have with Facebook’s business model: “When people have questions about the ad model on Facebook, I don’t think the questions are just about the ad model. I think they’re about both seeing ads, and data use around ads.” (And yes – I even did a whole talk at BIGSOUND about whether your phone is listening to you. I’m still convinced that they don’t LISTEN to you, but perhaps they pick up keywords in your messages/comments, and this creepy feeling of being heard is a combination of the Baader–Meinhof phenomenon paired with super powerful machine learning from the dozens of signals you and your friends.)

I’m not a tech ethicist, and I don’t have the answers here. But I can see both sides of the coin. With Apple’s model, you don’t have creepy advertisers manipulating you into purchasing things you didn’t know existed. But there’s also the accessibility issue. What happens if you cannot afford to pay for this content? What if you can’t afford to pay to have your content seen? In this world, if social media was paid for and ad-free, does that mean that those who can’t afford it can’t access it? Can’t socialise? Don’t get invited to events, don’t see cool new trends or news? Lose touch with their friend? Miss out on job opportunities because they don’t have a network? I am incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of paywalling mass communities across the board (paywalled fan communities are not included here). Accessibility to content and tools for marginalised communities is a huge thing to me, as a BIPOC.

LET’S GET TECHNICAL – WHAT’S HAPPENING

Apple’s new iOS 14 has a bunch of new changes. The key ones are these 3 points around app privacy:

  • App tracking transparency: Starting in early 2021, receive a prompt when an app wants to track you across apps or websites owned by other companies for advertising, or wants to share your information with data brokers. Then decide if you’ll give it permission.
  • App tracking settings: <No info here – says coming soon>
  • Privacy information on the App Store: You can now get information on the App Store to help you understand the privacy practices of every app before you download it. (Source).

If you use an iPhone/iPad, you’ll get this message:

(It is not lost on me that Apple used Facebook as the example on their own site.)

What this means for everyone:

  • Apple is letting users decide if they want to share their activity back to apps.
  • The pop up window is a prompt to let people decide consciously what they want to do. Thinking, Fast And Slow by Daniel Kahneman has some great insight into this using organ donation statistics between countries. Those that require manual opt in and much lower.
  • Before users even download an app, they can VERY easily see what data the app will track. E.g. financial information, location, browsing history.

What this means for advertisers and apps:

  • Apps can no longer easily ask for dodgy extra info, like your financial details. If they ask, you’ll know.
  • Lots of people are likely to NOT allow apps to track their data and info.
  • Less data to track = less data to act upon.
  • Your data is know going to be heavily skewed to non iOS users. (Diff to this – but according to Google Analytics, this website is now viewed by 100% Android phone users now.)
  • Advertisers won’t be able to target users as neatly any more.
  • Advertisers won’t be able to segment or optimise towards very niche actions anymore. It’ll be basic events like add to cart, purchase etc. but if you were doing hella specific shit before, that’s all gone.
  • Apple users who have opted out may get some pretty weird ads now that are very general and purely based off your ASL. Their Facebook experience might not be as good.
  • Advertisers’ audiences and data will be skewed and not representative of the whole pool and may not be accurate. (E.g. if you’re making insights into your converted audience with only access to 40% of them, is that really enough to be robust? And if Facebook is trying to optimise your campaign for a key result but can only see 40% of the key results, how intelligent can it be?)

SO WHAT NOW?

My advice for advertisers (regardless of where you sit on the paid/free content argument) is this:

  • Focus on zero party data. Collect your own data, direct from your customers. If you incentivise collection, be really clear that you are collecting data.
  • In addition to the above, don’t solely rely on a community or data where you don’t have full access. If you’ve built your business around having access to 100K followers on Instagram, and for whatever reason you lose access (either through platform changes, or if you get booted off the platform) you’re screwed.
  • Have a strategy around what value you provide your consumers in exchange for their data, and let them know what it is. For an EDM, this might be private content, discounts, pre-sale ticket access, special merch bundles. If it’s a gated community, it might be private/special access/interactions with the talent, early access to content, special competitions, videos from the artist.
  • Be clear and transparent with data, regardless of where it’s come from. Make sure any pages/accounts that are advertising are labelled correctly. Make sure that your email lists are named properly and have the right source info. Some EDM platforms list this at the bottom of the emails OR on the unsubscribe form, and I hate it when it’s some vague thing like Maggie_Customers_mailing_FINAL1714826. Much better if it has a message like, “You’re getting this email because you purchased a product from our online store.”
  • Tidy up your company’s data and privacy policies. The average consumer is becoming increasingly interested in this and really hold you to it.
  • And finally, don’t stick your head in the sand. Advertisers are needing to jump through some hoops right now to help Facebook be compliant with Apple. It’s annoying. But yes – do it. (More info here.)

Was I right about 2020? And am I right about 2021?

January 21, 2021

January 2020. I was pretty goddamn excited for last year.

My personal life was looking pretty sexy. The music industry had literally never been bigger. International travel was cheap as hell. I was also riding a complete high at seeing huge box office successes of flicks like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, and I was hopefully that the mass public were final okay rooting for people of colour. (I reckon they more or less always were but like LOL data, big movie execs took a while to realise this/that their audience are actually BIPOC. This probably deserves its on entire blog.) But there was still a part of me in complete despair over our bushfires too. So there was that too.

That was the world I lived in when I put forth my prediction for the year, as part of Bolster’s 2020 trends report. Here’s what I said, a year ago:

Music will see more cultural diversity. The music business has historically taken cues from the film industry, so I predict the huge success that movies have had with POC representation will inspire the music biz.

Australia prides itself in being a cultural melting pot, but we’re yet to see this reflected in festival lineups. Apart from the obligatory male rapper, there is little POC representation. It’s hard to be what you can’t see, so diversity in culture will inspire a new generation of musicians.

(Check out the full Bolster 2020 trend report here.)

And then 2020 actually happened.

I had an interesting chat with a Bolster colleague the other day about trend forecasting in marketing. She had a thought that perhaps all the 2020 trend reports were perhaps redundant, and I (respectfully) disagreed. A lot of forecasted trends (by Bolster or otherwise) either accelerated or pivoted to fit in our socially distanced, virtual world.

My prediction about the importance of racial diversity (music, pop culture, movies, whatever) ended up taking shape not just as inclusive programming at a festival, but instead a global civil movement to support and empower BIPOC creators and business owners. Huge changes to how we think and operate, and how we hold businesses and corporations accountable. (I do write this and fully acknowledge that I work in a fairly white business with very white clients.)

And this is what I mean by acceleration. Racial inequality has always been a ginormous issue. It’s not a new thing we faced in 2020. But without the Black Live Matters movement this year there is absolutely no way that the huge shifts in attitude and real action would have all happened in one calendar year. I highly doubt Facebook would have added ‘Black Owned’ labels on business listings, or that several US state governments would implement bans on chokeholds, or a racist woman walking her dog off a lead would get fired.

So, what about 2021?

I reckon we’re on the same trajectory and speed as last year. Even if this year isn’t as dramatic as 2020, we still need nimbleness and quick action to get us out of the shitter we’re in. Here are the key consumer trends that I see being a thing and happening with real impact in 2021:

  • Self care being reclaimed back as the radical, delicious, awesome practice of truly caring for ourselves so we are recharged and ready to take on the world. (Read about it’s politically charged history here.) It’ll no longer be about ‘treating yourself’ to a $100 scented candle because you did your job that you are paid to do and it was hard.
  • Transparency trumps gloss and sexiness. Consumers are going to be looking at brands through a lens of diversity and sustainability.
  • Data will be the new gold, and brands will find really interesting ways to (ethically) collect and store consumer data with permission, and in a way that really drives value to their customer.
  • Gone are the days of being something to everyone. We’re going to see the rise of niche brands who can exist only to service the tiniest segment of the market and thrive. Marketing platforms will also help them find their tiny patch of the world through very niche communities on TikTok and Reddit, or use laser sharp machine learning to get cheap conversions.

Happy new year, folks.

BIGSOUND 2020

October 12, 2020

BIGSOUND may not have happened in September, and I’m still not allowed to go to Queensland… but I’m super stoked to announce that I’ll be doing not one but two sessions at the virtual BIGSOUND next week with Bolster.

The first session is a Digital Music Marketing Foundations masterclass on Wed. It’s a 60-minute webinar where I’ll investigate how and why audiences discover, engage, spend money and time on music. The session will also review common social media channels, and how to best use these for an effective marketing campaign. I’ve created this particular webinar to be useful for artists, managers, festival/label marketing managers and SMB owners looking to market to music audiences online for the first time. No prior knowledge needed.

The second sessions is a fun A-Z Of Future Music Marketing webinar that I’ll be co-hosting with my Bolster colleague Carl Redwood. We’ll whiz through trends and future tech that we think the music industry should take note of.

More info about my sessions here. Catch ya in the BIGSOUND livestreaming portal next week!

Campaign Thoughts: All Time Low

October 4, 2020

American pop punk band All Time Low just announced a series of live streamed concerts. Almost a year into a pandemic, not that surprising and definitely not innovative. But how they’re rolling it out? *kisses fingers like I’ve just eaten pizza*

The Basement Noise Concert series is ON SALE NOW!Not being able to play shows for you all this year has been…

Posted by All Time Low on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The band will be performing five live streamed concerts on Saturdays from October to December. The first live stream will be ATL performing their latest album Wake Up, Sunshine in full, and each subsequent concert will be a curated set list from a different band member. Tickets are sold per stream, but fans can also purchase a 5-stream concert pass that gives them a discount and access to special merch.

Here’s why it’s bloody brilliant:

  • Partnering with a different concert promoter in each territory is smart. Just like they would with an IRL concert, working with a promoter allows the band to tap into their resources (e.g. on ground publicist, social media, past purchaser databases, local connections) while also leveraging the cultural equity of the promoter. That last point is especially important. The Aus promoter in this case is Destroy All Lines, a well-loved tour promoter in the metal/punk/hardcore scene with an established following.
  • Rolling out a series of events creates the same excitement and hype as a normal tour. Marketing can use activity and content from the first stream to sell tickets to subsequent nights.
  • Having more than one night also makes it easier for fans to find a time that suits them.
  • The 5-stream concert pass is clever because hardcore fans can and will purchase it to make sure they don’t miss anything cool. The exclusive merch only available to these users is also an ingenious way to incentivise the pass, and fans will definitely use it as a badge of honour to show their level of love. (What? You only got the merch for Rian’s October 24 concert? Check out my merch that I got because I love them enough to watch every single one.)
  • Spreading the 5 dates by two or three weekends apart also means that fans won’t get super bored. If they crammed it into a couple of weekends like an actual tour (e.g. Friday, Saturday and Sunday across two weekends), it’s less likely that people would have tuned in to watch them in succession.
  • Having one show dedicated to playing the whole album from start to finish is a great way to promote the album again. It’s what we would call “PR-able”, and a lot of media coverage for this series has focused on that angle.
  • It’s also a great way to give legs to an album off cycle. Wake Up, Sunshine will definitely see a boost in downloads and streams from this activity.
  • Focusing on individual band members leverages the type of fandom that pop punk audiences tend to have (e.g. forum discussions about which member is your fave) and unlocks many member-specific content opportunities.
  • They’ve listed the streaming series as a tour across sites like Songkick, tapping into those platforms as another marketing touch point.
  • The $20ish price point per stream feels right. It doesn’t devalue their music by giving it away for free, and sits okay considering GA tickets to their 2017 Melbourne concert was at the $100 price point.

Not every artist will be able to roll out a multi-market live stream series, but here are my thought starters for other musicians:

  • Do you really need to undertake your live stream efforts solo? Or can you partner with your label, a trusted promoter (especially outside of your home territory), media partner or venue? You’ll need to split the profits, but will you generate more ticket sales by doing this?
  • Can you run a series? Could you split it up to have themes (perhaps one concert per album or per member, or with themes like Christmas, Halloween and New Year’s)?
  • If your audience size is big enough or you have access to on demand merch production, can you offer special merch items only to attendees?
  • If you’re running a series, are you being realistic about how often they should run? Are they far apart enough that the same users will come back, but regular enough to keep momentum and excitement up?
  • Can you add a PR angle into your message? (E.g. recent album in full, anniversary gig.)
  • Can you offer discounts or merch incentives to attend more than one?
  • Are you using all the marketing avenues you would use to promote an IRL concert (e.g. Facebook events, Songkick)? It’s important to note that almost all of these IRL concert listing sites have pivoted to include virtual events.
  • Do you have a pricing strategy? How do you virtual concert ticket prices sit against your average IRL concert ticket? If it’s more, what extra value are you providing (e.g. pre-concert access, behind-the-scenes previews, interviews, special views) and have you clearly communicated this? If it’s free or less, have you made sure it doesn’t devalue your music?

I have to admit that I was a live stream skeptic in April and May, and didn’t see the point of seeing a shoddy free stream of an artist back then if I could just wait a few more months. But as we find ourselves a year deep into the COVID-19, more elegantly executed live streams really hit that spot ?

Why I’m worried about the music industry

September 8, 2020

My heart is breaking. The music industry is in pieces. It’s been part-inspiring, part-depressing seeing people from all over the sector try to patch things up or make ends meet during this pandemic.

A lot of attention has been focused on musicians… How will musicians cope if they can’t write, record and perform music? How will they connect with their audiences? How will they make money? Are live streams supposed to replace touring income?

All very fair and important questions, especially since the industry but would be nothing without artists. But there are some deeper layers to look at, and some less obvious concerns that worry me deeply right now:

  • Performers in the lime line (i.e. talent) can still make an income via live streaming, or using their clout for income (e.g. partnerships, social media posts, Patreon) but other live staff (e.g. sound engineers, lighting engineers, roadies, tour managers) do not have this luxury to fall back on for income.
  • Furthermore – a lot of these ancillary staff have skills that translate well to other live settings (all cancelled, thanks COVID) but not so well online.
  • A lot of these ancillary staff are also contractors, and may not be eligible for government payments, and/or redundancies packages.
  • Recorded music is not being churned out at the same speed as previously, with musicians not being able to travel or necessarily be in a room recording without breaking COVID protocol. The recorded industry is currently releasing music that was recorded pre-COVID, so we may see a ‘bald spot’ in release calendars in coming months. (Although some artists have been super productive, and writing and recording like mad from home.)
  • There’s less ‘business’ happening, meaning there is less need for internships and work placements right now. This will effect incoming talent, meaning we may have ‘talent leakage’ over the next few years. Many bright minds who may have chosen to work in music (if not for COVID) may have decided to start a sensible career in a more stable industry instead. (Especially because research shows that Gen Z are super responsible and financially savvy… unlike us millennials who were bad with money and are big dreamers.)
  • There are less jobs in the industry, meaning the job market is competitive. Overqualified established professionals may take taking pay cuts or less senior roles (temporarily) to stay in the industry, making it harder for emerging music industry professionals from getting a foot in and gaining experience. Same as above – this may cause talent loss to the sector.
  • Less music events and money floating around means less advertising revenue to media outlets that specifically service music and entertainment audiences. This may mean fewer resources to fund good content, or compensate their creators appropriately. (I would say the majority of these creators have never been compensated properly but that is a whole other conversation.)
  • Closing down hospitality and retail also affects licensing, and reduce income artists would earn from said venues playing their music.
  • The film industry has also been hit hard, with less movies being produced or released this year due to logistical nightmares. This means less sync deals for artists, which especially hurts because these can be very good coin.
  • Also less music events and new music mean less editorial content for outlets, meaning that they may be getting less traffic to site, therefore less impressions they can sell. (Some Aussie music media right now cannot serve out normal ad impressions due to severely low traffic.)
  • Medium sized businesses may struggle to stay afloat with this Melbourne COVID wave. The big boys have big cash reserves and can stay afloat by restructuring and jettisoning assets. Small operators run lean, and likely don’t fully rely on music industry income to survive. But the guys in the middle? They are likely to be newly established and potentially just breaking even before COVID-19 hit. Removing these actors out of the music industry ecosystem can spell trouble because they service an area of the industry, and help small artists/venues etc until they move up the chain.
  • Same with music venues. Small neighbourhood dive bars may seem shitty to some, but they are the hidden gems of the live music scene. They serve as a testing ground for new artists to cut their teeth, and develop their performance skills until they can move up to medium sized venues. Without these, it may prove harder for new artists to prove they have a track record with punter attendance, and also for getting used to performing to crowds.

Written from my couch in the heart of Melbourne’s lock down. xx

BIGSOUND 2019

September 8, 2019

Another year, another BIGSOUND, another post-BIGSOUND cold ? Here’s my annual list of highlights and discoveries in Brisbane with my Bolster fam.

  • Cloudland 1, Paige 0. I smacked myself pretty hard by walking face first into their full length toilet mirrors. (I do this every ?? single ?? year.)
  • Johnny Hunter were so excellent that I saw them twice. Thanks to Taylor at Bolster for that suggestion.
  • My BIGSOUND WTF session on how ads are targeted went well. Cloudland is definitely the swankiest place I’ve ever spoken at. Everyone is still convinced that Facebook is illegally listening to their phone conversations to target them. (I might swallow my words if some scandal comes out about them doing this, but no, Facebook does not do this.)
  • Boy Azooga were the only band on my must-see list, and they did not disappoint. Please someone book them for a festival so they can come to Australia again.
  • Other musical highlights: The Dianas, Ainsley Farrel, Stellie, Mojo Juju, Upside Down Head, Electric Fields
  • Espresso martinis are not for me. (Please remind me next time I reach for one.)

Here’s to (an espresso martini-free) BIGSOUND next year!

One Of One

June 24, 2018

One of One is an incredible music blog started by three Melbourne women, with the purpose of shining a spotlight on the wonderful women in the music industry. I’ve been a reader for the past couple of years because it’s absolutely inspirational to see women in the music business kicking goals, especially those that I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the past decade.

Sarah Hamilton (ahem, one of those said ladies I’ve had the pleasure of working with) interviewed me for the site last week. Have a read, laugh at my OTT Virgo method of dealing with stress and maybe find out a bit more about what I do all day at Bolster. Someone said my answer to the karaoke question was a cop out. ?

(If the name One of One sounds familiar, I also went to their absolutely beautiful and empowering International Women’s Day Breakfast earlier this year. Read more about that here.)

YouTube Music

June 23, 2018

YouTube Music has been in Australia for a little while now, but Google just announced a whole revamped music platform recently. Bolster is actually working on a small part of the roll out marketing campaign on local soil, so Nicky (Bolster’s Creative Director) and I went to their YouTube Music launch party in Sydney earlier this week.

The new version of the streaming app is designed to put music discovery at the forefront, playing into the breadth of YouTube Music’s catalogue. More info on YTM here.

(Funny story. Our plane was super delayed so we only ended up being at the actual party for about an hour, but we still managed to say hi to some familiar faces plus watch Amy Shark and Vera Blue. *Shakes fist at Virgin.*)

Happy International Synth Day!

May 23, 2018

Happy International Synth Day from the Bolster team! P.S. Promise I did real work too.

Censorship? Or doing the right thing?

May 16, 2018

Spotify made world news last week with the announcement of their new Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy:

We love that our platform is home to so much diversity because we believe in openness, tolerance, respect, and freedom of expression, and we want to promote those values through music on our platform.

However, we do not tolerate hate content on Spotify – content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.

The Swedish streaming platform has copped some serious heat over this. Surprising to me at first, but I can also see how.

Firstly, it’s truly wonderful to see a big multinational taking a stand and not celebrating shit stains. It absolutely sickens me that Chris Brown still has a career, and that popular convicted women haters are still held on a pedestal in the entertainment business. So many companies and businesses are too scared about the bottom line to be the first to make a stand on controversial issues. (But, of course, okay to do so after others have and are pat on the back. See: American big businesses revoking their NRA discounts, but only after the first few were applauded on social media.)

It feels like a huge victory to see Spotify removing content that incites violence, and not using their promotional tools like daily mixes and RapCaviar to further the careers of these ‘hateful’ individuals. This feels like a middle finger to a system that has failed so many of us, women like my friends and me who have tried to get help for sexual assault and misconduct IRL but seen absolutely zero action. But it also brings up so many questions:

  • Is it the place of the content provider to be the censor? Is that a job for curators and media outlets (e.g. the triple js and NMEs of the world)? Or does Spotify’s features (custom daily mixes, playlists with giant followings, similar artists suggestions) almost turn the DSP into a curator as well? And how is Spotify facing heat over this, when book publisher Simon & Schuster got good press for cancelling their deal with the very racist, lesbian-hating Milo Yiannopoulos?
  • And regardless of who is doing the censorship… where do we draw the line? Do we say holding women against their will in a cult-like sex dungeon is bad (R. Kelly) but flashing your genitals to a fellow performer is okay (Louis C.K.)? Or does it depend on how outraged Twitter is?
  • It just so happens that this policy matches my political views… what happens if a different content provider swings the other way? Say if a pro-NRA eBook service decides to remove all literature around gun control? Is that okay?
  • Should we, and can we even, separate art from the artist? (I’d say no. Author-centred view, anyone?)
  • No man is an island, and most pieces of musical work are not recorded and put up by a single person. Is it fair to remove Lostprophets’ music from Spotify because of Ian Watkins’ truly atrocious crimes? Even though the rest of the band have publicly denounced him and Watkins has been sentenced to 30 odd years behind bars?
  • What about official channels of punishment? If a person (famous or otherwise) commits a hate crime, should we leave this with the authorities to convict and sentence as appropriate? Why is it up to content providers to take action?
  • When does this become trial (or Spotify censorship) by media? The #MuteRKelly campaign definitely gave this a helping hand, in the same way that Weinstein being fired from his own company was very much because of the traction that the #MeToo movement had.
  • What about reform? If an artist commits a heinous crime, serves out the sentence, grows up, learns the errors of their ways… can they never ever release music again? Is this an old school and barbaric way of thinking?

They’ve rolled out the reporting button already (check it out below) and have removed R. Kelly’s music from all their curated playlists. A slew of suggestions for other ‘hateful’ individuals have been rolling in and it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.

As Spotify themselves noted:

These are complicated issues… We’ll make some mistakes, we’ll learn from them.

 

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