Music has always been considered a powerful tool to express dissent, speak your truth, and spread whatever message you want to convey to a large audience. From protest anthems in the 1960s to the politically charged rap lyrics of the 1990s, at large, songs has served as a way for marginalized communities to voice their frustrations and call for change. The era of streaming proves to be no different, although the industry has changed dramatically, with Spotify seemingly positioning itself at the forefront of social matters.
As artists continue to use their tracks to address issues, digital streaming platforms are catching up as they share the same desire to spotlight those in need and amplify the voice of those that are, or have been, muted away. From pop to hip-hop, the sounds of protest can be heard loud and clear, and in an age where the world is seemingly more connected than ever, Spotify has decided to curate a playlist, gathering powerful ballads, energetic beats, and thought-provoking lyrics, to support the plight of Iranian women.
Calling on their its associate manager, Spotify tasked Iranian-American Leila Kashfi to carefully select 50 songs, featuring past, present, and future classics of the Persian music scene, including songs specifically composed for the current wave of protest in the Middle Eastern country from Mahya Hamedi, Snoh Aalegra, and Faravaz to Rana Mansour, Shervin Hajipour, and Dariush.
Iran’s streets have been packed with protesters for several months now following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody on Sept. 16 for allegedly not covering her hair up to the country’s religious standards. Since, the international community has tried its best to raise awareness and show solidarity, and Spotify’s recent action is just another step in that direction.
“For decades, the Islamic Republic has forced Iranians to suppress the beauty of Persian culture — a culture founded thousands of years ago in music, dance, romance, and tolerance,” Kashfi wrote on Instagram, before pointing at the Iranian republic for targeting “artists because music fuels revolution.”
Launching the string of songs with the use of its own video story feature in order for Iranian creatives to express themselves first hand to the millions of subscribers Spotify counts in its system, it has also been announced that five songs will be pinned to every users’ playlist, namely Baraye by Shervin Hajipour, Soorakh Moosh by Salehi, Dobareh by Googoosh, Soroode Zan by Mehdi Yarrahi, and Freedom Anthem by Ethnic Musicians.