LISTEN: Evan Greer – ‘Surveillance Capitalism’

A rallying cry against the un-nerving nature of Spotify’s increasingly pervasive developments in user-monitoring technologies, Boston-based indie-punk artist Evan Greer has shared her latest single ‘Surveillance Capitalism’. Taken from her new album Spotify is Surveillance, released via Don Giovanni Records and queer-run independent label Get Better Records, the track also marks the launch of Greer’s campaign with digital rights platform Fight for the Future.

The campaign calls on Spotify to drop reported plans to use artificial intelligence and voice recognition software to spy on listeners’ conversations, conducting emotional surveillance and manipulation to target music and advertising. Greer, who is also a journalist & a pro-active voice for trans rights and equality, will be donating all the profits from her single to the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) to support their #JusticeAtSpotify campaign.

“We all want to be seen / but behind the screen / there’s a nightmare dressed up as a dream,” Greer sings, a sentiment that will resonate deeper with listeners who have endured a year of increased screen-time due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic’s on-going lockdowns. The idea that Spotify could be spying on and profiting from people’s privacy via new technologies is abhorrent to Greer, and she wants listeners to push back against the platform’s plans too.

“The fact that Spotify filed a patent for this type of emotional surveillance and manipulation is beyond chilling,” she explains. “It’s not enough for them to say that they have no plans to use this technology right now, they should publicly commit to never conducting this type of surveillance on music listeners. Surveillance capitalism as a business model is fundamentally incompatible with basic human rights and democracy, regardless of whether it’s being employed by Facebook, Amazon, or Spotify.

The song and video highlight the fact that the Internet has the potential to profoundly transform our society for the better, abolishing false scarcity and enabling universal access to human knowledge and creativity, while ensuring marginalized and independent artists and creators are fairly compensated for our labour. But if we allow a small handful of companies to dominate the web and the music industry with a parasitic business model based on surveillance and exploitation, we’re headed for the opposite: a dystopian future where algorithms decide what we see and hear based on profit, rather than artistry.”

Listen to ‘Surveillance Capitalism’ below.

Follow Evan Greer on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter & Instagram

Photo Credit: Kayana Szymczak

Kate Crudgington

Track Of The Day: Gif – ‘Lumière’

A gnarly take-down of the double standards and inappropriate behaviour women and girls often face in public, Dublin trio gif have shared their debut single ‘Lumière’. The track is inspired by the need to make their own shows a safe space for women and non-binary people, and the trio use their catchy, indie-punk tunes to get this important message across.

Formed in October 2018, the Irish teenagers – aged between 17 and 19 – have adopted a strong DIY ethic, self-funding everything they’ve achieved so far. This includes headline shows in Dublins biggest venues such as Workman’s and Whelan’s, and recently being added to Spotify’s “An Alternative Éire” playlist, which showcases new Irish alternative sounds.

Debut single ‘Lumière’ is accompanied by a humourous music video Directed by Eleanor Rogers which features shots of the band playing their instruments, as an intense situation unfolds between a young woman and her (unwanted) admirer on webcam. Check out the music video below and follow gif on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington

Track Of The Day: Anna Kairos – ‘Twilight’

Dark but delicate, Anna Kairos is a pianist and songwriter who creates atmospheric, pop-noir sounds. Her new track ‘Twilight’, taken from her debut EP Hosting Time, sounds as elusive as the time of day it’s named after.

Wavering vocals and rich piano textures communicate Anna’s feelings about broken relationships, freedom and pain in a delicate, powerful way. These explorations are not solely limited to ‘Twilight’, Anna’s debut EP, released via Berlin label Snowhite records, is laced with these sensibilities too. It’s a promising first offering from this talented newcomer.

Take a listen to ‘Twilight’ below and Follow Anna Kairos on Spotify and Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington