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700+ artists boycott Amazon over ICE ties

Just over a week after Amazon Web Services (AWS) revealed the full line-up for its Intersect music festival, over 700 musicians have pledged to boycott any Amazon-affiliated event or partnership due to the e-commerce giant’s links with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Artists including Deerhoof, Speedy Ortiz, Downtown Boys, Priests and Guy Picciotto have signed the ‘No Music for ICE’ open letter, published by digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future. The group is also behind a recent campaign urging festivals to ban facial recognition technology.

The letter states that the signatories are “outraged” that Amazon “continues to provide the technical backbone for ICE’s human rights abuses”.

The artists pledge to boycott “Amazon-sponsored events” and “exclusive partnerships” until the company terminates existing contracts with ICE, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR); stops supplying cloud services and tools to organisations that “power the US government’s deportation machine”; and ends facial recognition projects and any others that “encourage racial profiling”.

“We the undersigned artists are outraged that Amazon continues to provide the technical backbone for ICE’s human rights abuses”

The boycott comes after DJ the Black Madonna pulled out of her appearance at Intersect, claiming that Amazon Web Services’ affiliation with the event was not made apparent.

“If you were shocked I’d play for Amazon, well that makes two of us,” tweeted the DJ. “Please be patient while I burn some bridges.”

Artists still confirmed to play AWS’ Intersect festival, which is taking place from 6 to 7 December in Las Vegas, include Kacey Musgraves, Foo Fighters, Anderson.Paak, Beck, Brandi Carlile, Jamie XX and HER. Weekend passes are available for US$169.

Amazon has attempted to tap into the live scene in recent years, with its streaming arm, Amazon Music, hosting Taylor Swift-headlined Prime Day concert in July. Other, albeit short-lived, forays into the live industry by the web giant include event ticketing operation Amazon Tickets and concert series Prime Live Events.

 


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Amazon announces full line-up for new Intersect festival

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has revealed the full artist line-up for Intersect, its music and technology festival debuting in Las Vegas next month.

Acts including Jpegmafia, Toro y Moi, the Black Madonna, Japanese Breakfast and Kelsey Lu join the likes of Foo Fighters, Kacey Musgraves, Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals, Beck, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, HER and Jamie XX at the event, which will take place on 6 and 7 November at the 85,000-capacity Las Vegas Festival Grounds.

The festival – which follows the Taylor Swift-headlined Prime Day concert as the web giant’s first new live entertainment project since the abrupt shutdown of Amazon Tickets and Prime Live Events early last year – also includes a reported million square feet (93,000m²) of games and activities, including a video arcade, a ‘post-apocalyptic’ dodgeball stadium and a huge ball pit with 200,000 balls, as well as installations and exhibitions by acclaimed visual artists and a drone light show celebrating women in tech.

“We’ve built a pretty amazing and unusual live music experience at our annual AWS conference that attendees have loved”

Ariel Kelman, vice-president of worldwide marketing for AWS, comments: “Music has been an uncanny unifier of people over the years. We’ve built a pretty amazing and unusual live music experience at our annual AWS conference that attendees have loved, and with Intersect, we’re excited to extend this unique event into a two-day, public music festival.

“Festivalgoers can look forward to a mix of musical performances from legendary acts like the Foo Fighters and Kacey Musgraves, and unique musical talents from the likes of Brandi Carlile, Kelsey Lu, and Jpegmafia, coupled with immersive digital installations and some of the interactive games and technology elements our AWS re:Invent and re:Play attendees know and love.”

Two-day tickets are priced from US$169 and available from intersectfest.com.

 


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