Sitting in a NYC Starbucks playing with my iPhone, I realized that I was just blocks away from Spotify’s American headquarters.
Two Spotify executives, wearing logoed-name tags, sat at the next table.
Yeah, Spotify, the world’s largest music platform with over 200 million subscribers.
Yeah, Hans, the younger exec wore a dark blue suit, crisp white shirt and maroon tie. He appeared to be in his early 30s, and Max, the older guy in his mid-50s, dressed in a charcoal-grey suit with a white shirt and a gold tie. They treated me as if I was invisible and deaf. Over iced lattes, they chatted in a clearly audible, accented tone as my ears froze on each of their words.
Max: We’ve managed to piss off a lot American Jews and a bunch or their supporters. They’re shaking their fists at us and calling us names. We’ve been allowing hate-streaming playlists to go unchecked for too long. They’re too many playlists praising Adolf and calling for the gassing of Jews. Today, I got a bunch of emails threatening a boycott, unless we pull the neo-Nazi stuff. While other customers said they’d revert to free streaming and going back to listening to commercials. While others admonished me that if we don’t change our policies and explicitly call-out hate, they are going sell their Spotify stock on the New York Stock exchange.
Hans: Can you blame them. I read the article in the Times of Israel. I memorized the names of some pretty scary playlists:
Auschwitz Train Sing Along;
Auschwitz Rave Party (1943 colorized);
Gas the Jews Music;
Songs to Snort Anne Frank’s Ashes;
Straight Outta Auschwitz—Getting Gassed with Anne Frank;
Anne Frank’s Hide and Seek Party Playlist.
Max: Those playlists make me sick. I want to vomit. I read the Diary of Anne Frank as a kid. The story still affects me. I love that book. At the next board of directors conference call, let’s get on the agenda and bring up the subject. It’s time to try to get a resolution concerning this anti-Semitic issue.
Hans: I’ll draft a memo for your review and a proposed press release, if the Board goes along with our recommendations, we’ll be ready. I already have the first sentence of the memo. I wrote it on this Starbucks napkin. It’s an Anne Frank quote:
“How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Max: Wow, that’s a inspirational quote, Hans. After reading that quote, I bet the board of directors calls-out and pulls-out hate in our playlists. For if they don’t, we’ll see a lot of playlists entitled:
Songs to Snort Spotify’s Ashes.