Evan Greer is trans-femme indie punk songwriter as well as an activist and the Deputy Director for the digital rights group Fight For The Future. Also, her new album — out this Friday 4/9, and delightfully titled Spotify is Surveillance — totally fucking rips.
("Emma Goldman Would Beat Your Ass," which I previously shared here and is about exactly what it sounds like it's about, is on the album as well.)
Ahead of her album drop, Greer has released a new single titled "Surveillance Capitalism" which, aside from being a raging punk rock anthem against the plague of surveillance capitalism, also features audio samples from anti-surveillance activists and icons like Chelsea Manning and Ursula K Leguin. The awesome cyberpunk video above was designed by Michael Flowers. Here's what Greer has to say:
The fact that Spotify filed a patent for this type of emotional surveillance and manipulation is beyond chilling. 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 labor. 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.
Along with the single and album release, Greer is announcing the launch of a new Stop Spotify Surveillance campaign site in coordination with Fight For The Future, which calls on Spotify to drop their reported plans to use artificial intelligence and voice recognition software to spy on listeners' conversations, which would allow them to conduct voice recognition surveillance to collect emotionally exploitative data for advertisers. I'm trying to be less pedantic here but if by chance you were theoretically interested in supporting such a campaign (can't imagine why!), you can start by signing the petition at StopSpotifySurveillance.org.
But not to lose the thread: this song also fuckin' rocks.
Spotify is Surveillance [Evan Greer / BandCamp]