Swedish-based music streaming service Spotify has not shied away from signalling its position on the current debate around immigration and terrorism in Sweden. It has used its own curated playlist in the past to make its position clear. For example, here among the playlists celebrating music genres and moods is one dedicated to the company’s support for opening Sweden’s borders to refugees in contrast to the much-publicized stance of President Trump on the issue.
So it was unsurprising that the company participated in slew of smug memes following President Trump’s comments on Sweden (which we discussed at the time here) and which evolved into sneering Twitter fun #LastNightInSweden. Here’s a typical example:
Spotify contributed a Twitter meme of its own, with a playlist attached of tracks chosen for the implied sarcasm of their titles.
Even the Swedish ambassador to the USA joined in the mocking.
Spotify’s ‘witty’ response to Trump gained the company some supportive media attention. For example, NYHETER24 editorialised: “The world’s media has been filled with a good deal of mockery of the president after his comments, and on Twitter the hashtag #LastNightInSweden has gone viral. Now, even the Swedish music giant Spotify has latched onto the hype around Trump’s statement and has created a playlist named after the viral hashtag. The list spread with the words “Have we forgotten something?” and currently has 368 followers.”
The smugness was short-lived. Barely six weeks later, the playlist has been deleted following a bloody terrorist attack in the center of Stockholm.
But the story has a tragic twist.
One of Spotify’s executives was murdered by a jihadist in Friday’s attack.
We have to make it very clear that this is no exercise in a smugness of our own. What has happened is a terrible tragedy for the victims – the dead and the badly injured – and their families, friends and colleagues, but it is a very clear warning to all of us about being complacent and frivolous about the threat of Islamist terror or the thought that our progressive societies will be immune from the attention of violent terrorists.
It is doubtful that Spotify founder Daniel Ek ever imagined that with weeks he would be following up his company’s mocking and sneering tweets denying any threat to Sweden with one confirming the death of a colleague in an attack in the centre of Stockholm.
It is never a good idea to hold oneself hostage to fortune. It is easy to poke fun at a president who often seems to have the short end of the stick about small details. But what what many people take away from this is that Trump is substantially right about the big picture, and liberals are substantially wrong. And there are only so many terrible ways to be proven wrong before it becomes too much to bear.
As a footnote, Sweden’s Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, who had previously said he was ‘surprised’ by President Trump’s comments linking migrants to violence, announced that the country had ‘decided to strengthen border controls’ after the lead terrorist in the attack was revealed to have been an Uzbeki asylum seeker.