German band Atari Teenage Riot was recently featured in the "Never Stop Playing" ad campaign for PlayStation Vita - today founding member Alec Empire has announced that all royalties and other money arising from the ad will be donated to a website supporting hacktivist group Anonymous.
The highly political group, named after the computer used to create its music, has been on the receiving end of more than a little criticism for "selling out" over its inclusion in the ad, particularly given the group's history with Sony. In 1999, the company reportedly used an Atari Teenage Riot song to advertise a camcorder in South East Asia - without first gaining permission.
I felt used, exploited, ripped off…everything that a sensitive artist like myself would feel in that situation... haha (I hope you know I am kidding here….but I have to admit it hurt a little)
if you ever tried to fight a corporation like this in court AND in another country,
let me tell you...you want to do other stuff with that time and money…
Even though the thing got settled in court kind of, I never felt they paid what they owed.
Coming to the realisation that "men with guns employed by the government" wouldn't be able to help him in this sort of situation in the future, Empire decided to take things into his own hands. When the message from Sony landed on his desk, requesting a song to use in a Vita commercial, Empire did not hesitate in sending over a copy of Black Flags.
We needed to tie up a few lose ends on this, until it became unstoppable,
that’s why we had to wait to reveal that
Atari Teenage Riot donate their $$$ to http://freeanons.org/
The track itself - which includes references to Anonymous - also appears in numerous online clips from the Occupy Wall Street movement belonging to both Atari Teenage Riot and the hacktivist group, and this just "makes it even more fun," says Empire.
Completing the band's political statement, Empire responds to fans accusing him of using the song as an advert, a way of selling more ATR records. In a new blog post, he merely points out that the song - Black Flags - has been freely available online for the past seven months, via music sharing site Soundcloud. The site includes lyrics, feedback and information about the song, originally released just a few days before the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
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Jimmy the Geek