Conservative senator Cory Bernardi has criticised music-streaming site Spotify for canning his political party’s Australia Day playlist after heavy criticism from the artists on the list.
The Australian Conservatives’ Twitter account decried the deletion of the list as censorship, posting a copy of an automated email from Spotify which said the playlist had been removed after complaints it violated the site’s guidelines and contained inappropriate and offensive content.
“Music for everyone — unless you’re a conservative,” the account said.
Senator Bernardi, a vocal supporter of the right of businesses to refuse service to anyone “for whatever reason” during the same-sex marriage debate, retweeted the comment, adding “Welcome to the Brave New World”.
Spotify had earlier distanced itself from his list, saying the company had “actively supported marriage, gender and indigenous equality initiatives” and did not endorse the playlist, intended as a crack at Triple J’s decision to move its annual Hottest 100 countdown away from January 26.
It had not made any comment on the deletion last night but its terms of service ban brand accounts from creating or sharing playlists that “imply an endorsement or relationship” with artists without their permission.
Several prominent Australian musicians have protested against their inclusion in Bernardi’s list including Men At Work frontman Colin Hay, whose song Down Under is first on the list.
Hay said the song’s meaning had been lost on Bernardi.
“When the lyrics were written some 40 years ago, I was worried about people like him, and movements he represents. Turns out I had good reason to be,” Hay told the ABC.
“May I suggest Mr Bernardi, if you haven’t already, dabbling in some light hallucinogens. Wander into a field, and sit in front of a tree, and look at it, really study it, at a molecular level,” he said.
“It may not change your conservative views, but it may make you realise you’re not quite as important as you think you are,” Hay said.
Darren Hayes, lead singer with Savage Garden, has asked the senator several times via Twitter to remove his song, To The Moon And Back, from the list.
Senator Bernardi responded directly to Hayes on the social media outlet and showed no signs of modifying the list.
“Get over yourself darrenhayes. Music is for everyone.” Bernardi tweeted.
Jimmy Barnes, who is included on the list as a solo artist and in his band Cold Chisel responded to Bernardi from Japan, where he is on holiday.
Former Powderfinger frontman Bernard Fanning also weighed into the debate, saying he wanted nothing to do with the Australian Conservative’s countdown.
Meanwhile, Australian hip hop group Hilltop Hoods had a short, sharp message for Senator Bernardi in response to their inclusion on his list.
“Go f*** yourself corybernardi.,” the group tweeted.
Senator Bernardi said yesterday the artists should be thanking him for the royalties he was sending their way.
”They’re not appropriated for my political purposes at all,” he told ABC radio.
”All of a sudden I’m not allowed to create a playlist on a music streaming service for which I subscribe because I might be politicising it. This is nonsensical.”