A number of US technology companies have spoken out against Donald Trump’s executive order banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.
Yesterday, music-streaming service Pandora joined them, as CEO Tim Westergren sent an email to staff outlining his views on the issue, which the company has passed on to Music Ally.
“We have employees who we support through the immigration process and our most immediate priority is looking out for their well-being. We know that some of you may have family or friends who are directly impacted by this and are understandably concerned,” wrote Westergren.
“Immigration is not only core to our strength as a nation, it is central to everything we do as a company – the product we create, the service we provide and of course the wonderful, global music we play for our listeners. It has brought many of our valued coworkers, peers, and friends to us, and we will do whatever is needed to keep them secure.”
Westergren continued: “This could impact some of our key partners, as well as the entire artist community. We stand in solidarity with them… We are a company based on the idea of respect for every individual. Diversity makes us stronger. And the world of music is made richer by it. Through music, we have the privilege to play a meaningful and positive role in the lives of people.”
Tech companies’ principles are one thing, but there are hints that President Trump’s further immigration plans may have more impact on their businesses too.
Bloomberg reported yesterday that “his administration has drafted an executive order aimed at overhauling the work-visa programs technology companies depend on to hire tens of thousands of employees each year… Businesses would have to try to hire American first and if they recruit foreign workers, priority would be given to the most highly paid”.
From Silicon Valley tech giants to Spotify’s New York office – increasingly prominent in its global business – such a policy could have significant ramifications. The fallout from last week’s executive order will stretch considerably beyond this week’s protests (both in streets and from boardrooms).
Meanwhile, a statement yesterday from Ninja Tunes artist Ash Koosha, who grew up in Iran, emphasised the impact on the music community outside tech, with tours and promotional plans for artists with roots in the seven banned countries affected.
“Personally, I wont be able to go on my USA tours, share my discoveries in sound and music or promote the first VR album experience in the biggest market in the world,” said Koosha, while acknowledging the bigger picture.
“More importantly, refugees won’t find safety, families wont be reunited, academics wont be able to continue their research and people are stranded in a limbo of unknown future. Donald Trump came to power claiming that he’ll make America great again. But this seems impossible without the contribution from many many people of whom I am only one.”