Amazon recently announced plans to host its own festival in Las Vegas this December, called Intersect. It’s billed as “the place where music, technology, and art converge”, but the event is rousing some strong protests from musicians due to the involvement of Amazon’s AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud-technology division. Why? This article will fill you in on the context:
AWS’ technology has been used by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), which has been under fire for some time for its role in separating migrant children from their parents in the US. On Thursday (24 October) more than 175 musicians signed an open letter to Amazon “pledging to boycott participating in Amazon-sponsored festivals or partnerships until the company stops supporting human rights violations through its contracts with ICE and other US government agencies”. By Friday, the number had grown to more than 800 artists calling for Amazon to terminate its existing contracts with a selection of agencies; stop providing cloud services to companies that “power the US government’s deportation machine”; and ending projects that “encourage racial profiling and discrimination, such as Amazon’s facial recognition product”. A tweet from the ‘No Music for ICE’ campaign late on Friday revealed that close to 1,000 musicians had now signed up to back the campaign.