Spotify deletes Bernardi's playlist for terms violation

SWEDISH music streaming service Spotify has weighed into the Australia Day debate, declaring it would censor a playlist created by conservative politician Cory Bernardi.

Senator Cory Bernardi has been called out by musicians for using their music to promote his political agenda without their permission.
Senator Cory Bernardi has been called out by musicians for using their music to promote his political agenda without their permission.

Through much of Friday morning the playlist remained available.

The Australian Conservatives leader faced a backlash this week from artists including Savage Garden and The Hilltop Hoods for including their music on his playlist, created in response to public broadcaster Triple J's controversial decision to move its Hottest 100 countdown amid growing calls from activists to change the date of Australia Day from January 26.

"Spotify has actively supported marriage, gender and indigenous equality initiatives over the last five years, and believes in a diverse and multicultural Australia," a spokeswoman said in a statement to radio station 2GB on Friday.

"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.

"Finally, I would like to remind any political party who seek to use the work of others for political gain or messaging, to read the terms and conditions on Spotify that relate specifically to this situation."

Spotify deleted the playlist following artist complaints.
Spotify deleted the playlist following artist complaints.

Under "brand playlists and sharing", the terms and conditions read: "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."

Mr Bernardi told 2GB he could accept the move if he were using the music as an introduction to a political rally or as an advertisement.

"But I've merely done what millions of other people have done, created a playlist of music that I can listen to on Australia Day," he said.

"The artists get paid for it and they're saying, 'No, you're not allowed to do that, it's terrible.' I think we're living in a very dangerous time and that's why I will not buckle and fold on this. Last night we got a message from Spotify saying this playlist was offensive and derogatory comment or something like that.

"So they said they're going to be removing it because it was offensive, and I'm going, what can possibly be offensive about compiling a playlist of songs that are available on your own service?

The Australian Conservatives promoted the playlist on social media.
The Australian Conservatives promoted the playlist on social media.

"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.

"It's not just about this, it goes through a whole range of other areas, and we've got to stand up and call it out for what it is. So if these blokes want to take me on I'm happy, I'll have the fight with them."

Mr Bernardi described the response from artists including Men at Work, Powderfinger and Jimmy Barnes, who have "demanded for a long time political and financial and public support for their songs", as "extraordinary".

"Now [they] are deciding who's allowed to promote them and encourage them or listen to them. It's just bizarro world," he said.

"They're an assortment of people who have had drug problems, alcohol problems, plagiarism problems, they hardly are the bastions of morality in our community, and they're lecturing the rest of us on what we're allowed to like, what we're allowed to listen to, and what we're allowed to enjoy on Australia Day."

frank.chung@news.com.au


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