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September 23, 2022 3:06 pm

White Supremacist Musicians Reaching Audiences on Spotify: New ADL Report

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Image created by enthusiast of “Fashwave,” a music genre that promotes fascism and white supremacy. Photo: Twitter.

White supremacists are reaching new audiences through music streaming platforms, the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism reported on Thursday.

According to the civil rights group, forty white supremacist bands are featured on Spotify, an audio media provider with an estimated 182 million subscribers and 433 million monthly users. Some have become “verified artists,” a privilege that is not difficult to obtain and which, one music label owned by Sony Music Entertainment has said, can “help you in growing a sizable following.”

“Music has long been an effective way to radicalize extremists, allowing artists to both entertain and indoctrinate vulnerable listeners,” the ADL said. “At a time of increasing hate-motivated extremist violence, Spotify is not only allowing the racism and incitement of white supremacist music, it is actively promoting that content on its own playlists.”

ADL identified several genres and sub-genre’s of white supremacist hate-pop, including “Fashwave,” a play on the word fascism. It is, the ADL continued, a personal favorite of neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, founder of The Daily Stormer website.

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Fashwave has roots in Vaporwave, a style of music that patches together various synthesizer and drum-machine-driven sounds of the 1980s and 90s with images from the era’s most popular symbols of mass culture. Vaporwave’s evocation of nostalgia for an idealized past appealed to white racists, who appropriated its sonic and visual aesthetic to express their frustrations with cultural diversity, gender equality, and social change. It has also splintered to form a Marxist sub-genre.

Spotify users can stream songs by one of fashwave’s most known artists, IronMensch, including “Aryan Fury,” as well as “Veltanschaung,” a title based on the German noun Weltanschauung, which means “worldview.”

The ADL also identified genres such as “Rock Against Communism” (RAC) and “National Socialist Black Metal” (NSBM). One RAC band from Spain, Pugilato NSHC (National Socialist Hardcore) wrote a song titled “Sacrifice and Discipline” which pays tribute to Otto Skorzeny, a Waffen-SS colonel.

“Enemies and trash today, tomorrow and always, We’ll stand firm, true dissidents, We’ll stand strong, we don’t fear death,” its lead performer sings. “As Skorzeny said, ‘Live dangerously!'”

Another band, Wiking 1940, has a lead singer who calls himself “Lord Himmler.”

At the time ADL conducted its research, both Pugilato NSHC and Wiking 1940 were registered on Spotify as verified artists. Their music has since been removed from the platform.

Others remain, however, and can reach thousands of listeners a month.

“Despite adding explicit anti-extremist guidelines to their content policy, Spotify allows extremist content to flourish,” ADL concluded. “Between the extremist content found in some artists’ bios, the white supremacist messaging in some band’s lyrics, and the white supremacist imagery found in the cover art, Spotify still has considerable work to do in implementing its new policy.”

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