Spotify censorship! Ian browned off

Spotify has taken down an track by Ian Brown criticising lockdown.

How can artists continue to use Spotify under these circumstances?

Perhaps Brown would be interested in streaming on resonate?


I presume, as Resonate is community-owned, that the community could also ask for a song to be removed if desired (and by desired I mean breached some community agreed policy)?

Thoughtful response, @thehouseorgan

Of course it could, and I suppose become yet another liberal/conservative or right/left echo chamber, if that distinction even means anything anymore.

I’m here to appreciate and make art for art’s sake. As it happens, I think confinement is an absurd policy, as a lawyer as well as an artist, but if someone wants to make a song celebrating unelected government advisors granting you permission to leave the house, and doing all one’s shopping on Amazon, while tradition and culture which has been thousands of years in the making dies a silent death, that’s quite alright with me.

I hope I’m not alone in thinking that.

Well, I don’t think I agree with your politics or arguments here (and hope I’m not alone) but hey, that’s okay. I certainly don’t feel this is the space for such a debate.

Perhaps an actual policy on handling such matters will need to appear in due course. Perhaps it’s there already but I couldn’t find anything.

Interesting, @thehouseorgan, that you say this isn’t the ‘space for such a debate’. I’m not sure which debate, or indeed ‘space’, you mean.

If you mean this forum is not suited to a discussion on the merits or demerits of bringing non-digital society to a halt, I would tend to agree, and so you’re certainly in good company.

If however you mean we shouldn’t here debate free speech for artists—whether, for example, Ian Brown or an any other songwriter has a right to an opinion on a highly controversial government action (whether for or against)—I would be concerned about what kind of policy you think ‘needs to appear’.

Sure, any group needs ways of dealing with things if they go against the wishes of said collective. As an example, in our family and friendship groups these are largely informal and we cut-off, engage with, fall out, make up etc. as we see fit. For a co-operative based community with structures of incorporation etc., processes need formalising (lest how can there ever be any accountability should someone act poorly). Such structures are the policies I refer to and there should probably be one (if there isn’t already) for if someone believes content on resonate is doing harm. By content here, I guess I mean music but that could also apply to policies themselves, organisation structures, forum posts etc. (though I believe there are forum guidelines already) should they be harmful.

Yes, that’s fine for discussion on the forum, which is why those rules exist, but are you seriously suggesting we ‘need’ a ‘formal process’ for the approval of music?

That is otherwise known as censorship.

I mean, it wouldn’t be difficult. We just need to hire factcheckers and start prohibiting content that we don’t agree with.

I can probably direct you to a few songs that would fall foul of that process, on this platform and others.

Lockdown is just one example of something that can prove contentious. Come on, we don’t want to follow the example of a company like Spotify, which clearly are acting based on what’s good for them financially, in making decisions on what is and is not acceptable art!

Let’s not lose sight of that. I hadn’t expected the discussion to go this way, when talking to other artists, but I should remember that emotions are high at the moment.

Let’s keep cool!

Not a process for the approval of music but a process for the removal of music that violates certain community standards.

Hope that clarifies.

Again, this would be for the community to decide. I’m hyper-aware that this is just my position and may not represent larger collective wishes or viewpoints.

You do clarify your position, and of course it’s the same thing. Both procedures involve removing music for some preceived moral breach. Just that one procedure happens before the music is uploaded, and the other after.

Yes, the community would decide. I return to my hope that this is a community that values free expression, meaning that they allow art that they don’t agree with—whatever the reason.

On that note:

Glad we share some common ground.

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