Music community angered over Spotify CEO’s major investment in AI defence technology

Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, recently announced that he had made a €100 million investment in an AI defense technology company called Helsing. According to Helsing, the company aims to use cutting edge AI technology “ for defence and national security” and to provide “information advantage for democratic governments” to “keep liberal democracies from harm.” Ek’s investment comes by way of his Prima Materia investment corporation, currently valued at €1 billion. 

The announcement of Ek’s involvement with Helsing has been met with anger and frustration from Spotify users and the music community, with a number of users leaving Spotify for competing streaming services like Tidal. The hashtag #BoycottSpotify began trending on Twitter. Most criticism centered on Ek’s investment being a means to fund war. Speaking on what Helsing’s operations will actually do, cyber security expert Maurizio Monti explained to Resident Advisor that Helsing “will consolidate a huge amount of information, process it a billion times faster, then apply it to information captured by tanks, drones and satellites to reach battlefield conclusions in seconds instead of weeks.”

Resident Advisor also learned from an anonymous source at a techno label that record labels would be hesitant to support the #BoycottSpotify motion, as too much would be at stake. Label manager at London’s Outtallectuals Aryan Ashoori said that pulling content from Spotify would be “career suicide.”

Spotify has recently been called to question regarding their royalties model, with many pointing out that even the platform’s top performing artists are not earning a significant amount of money from the streaming platform. Many are calling for a larger support of online record store Bandcamp. Sameer Gupta, a Brooklyn based independent musician, Tweeted the following: