Speedy Oritz, Deerhoof & More Pull Music From Amazon to Protest ICE Contract

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Earlier this fall, the No Music for ICE campaign rallied more than 1,000 artists to sign an open letter protesting Amazon's contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Now, the org is asking artists to take the next step: Pulling their music from Amazon's streaming platform, just in time for the holiday shopping season, no less. 

Leading the charge are organizers Sadie Dupuis (of the band Speedy Oritz), Evan Greer, Downtown Boys, Get Better Records, @k9_or_die and Adult Mom, who are asking artists to join them in removing their catalogues beginning on Black Friday, Nov. 29. 

"We've had this in mind from day one," Dupuis tells Billboard. "The hope is that by making a bunch of noise around it now, we either get people committed to not using it, to not collaborating with them, or get Amazon to say, 'hey, artists are pulling from our service, maybe we reconsider these contracts.'"

The organizers detail the plan in a new Medium post, complete with instructions for both signed and unsigned artists who wish to take part.

"A mass, collective takedown is an escalation, another step in musicians acting in solidarity with the numerous groups across the country protesting to shut down ICE and end family separations, deportations, and other horrors," the post reads.

"Amazon is aggressively trying to compete in the music sales and streaming markets, with mixed results. Based on a few numbers for major 'rock' acts an industry insider shared with us recently, Amazon Streaming accounted for only around 4% of first week streams. Amazon MP3 digital sales equated to 3% total of album sales, excluding ticket/album bundle sales. Pulling down your music kicks Amazon where it already hurts, and it’s easy to do."

San Francisco rockers Deerhoof are among the artists who have since issued takedown requests, writing on Twitter, "We've requested that our distributor pull our music from @AmazonMusic because we agree that there should be #NoMusicForICE. This cruel organization regularly violates human rights and the American spirit, and we won't be party to it." A representative for Deerhoof confirmed this Billboard, adding that the band is now waiting for their request to be fulfilled.

The pledge comes as Amazon is trying to solidify its place in the music streaming world, having just launched a free, ad-supported version of its streaming service this month. 

No Music For ICE was first launched earlier this fall in response to Amazon Web Services' music, arts and tech festival, Interect Fest, which is set for Dec. 6-7 in Las Vegas. In an open letter in October, artists commited to boycotting festivals associated with Amazon until the company terminates existing contracts with military, law enforcement, and government agencies (ICE, CBP, ORR) that commit human rights abuses; stops providing Cloud services and tools to organizations that power the U.S. government's deportation efforts; and ends projects that encourage racial profiling and discrimination.

None of the artists who are currently on the Intersect Fest lineup -- which includes Foo FightersBrandi CarlileBeckAnderson .Paak, H.E.R. and Kacey Musgraves -- have signed the original open letter. But the list does include The Black Madonna, who removed herself from the Intersect Fest lineup after realizing the event's affiliation with Amazon.

See the full list of artists who signed No Music For ICE's original letter here.

UPDATE: This article was updated at 6:55 p.m. EST to correct the names of artists removing their music from Amazon Music. An earlier version of the story erroneously named artists participating in the No Music For ICE boycott on Amazon-associated festivals, but have not signed onto this latest demonstration.


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