My second column at The Federalist today is, “Why Spotify’s Decision To Censor Artists Opens An Bottomless Rabbit Hole.” The decision of music streaming services to not only start policing “hate content,” but also to de-promote artists judged by them to have engaged in “especially harmful or hateful” conduct is going to turn into a chronic headache for these companies. In particular, I suspect they will conclude that the statutory rape of minors is acceptable, based mostly on how many major rock and roll artists can plausibly accused of it.
Not too long ago, I had to leave out a discussion of the way we have let institutions decline and be replaced with platforms, and yet there is popular demand for platforms to act like institutions. That discussion gets surfaced in today’s column.
What gets left out due to length this time is a discussion of the activist groups Spotify has recruited to help them implement their policy. This is a moment of crisis management, so the impulse to bring in brands like the SPLC and GLAAD as an exercise in trust-building and branding is vaguely understandable, particularly if the execs at these companies lean left. But I suspect Spotify will discover these groups make their living on expanding the scope of controversies, not quelling them. And at least some of these groups will have no compunction about stabbing Spotify in the back the moment their political agenda diverges from Spotify’s desire to make a profit. Unless these groups get to wet their beaks, of course.
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