Music label Occupation Records has announced that it will not work with Amazon or Apple on the count of their "labour and human rights violations."
This is a bold statement as both Amazon's marketplace and Apple's iTunes make up over 80 per cent of the online download market, meaning there's likely to be a big impact on record sales by not working with these firms. Despite that, Occupation Records is still not going to use their services.
As part of the move, the label hoped it would encourage the rest of the music industry to develop something more ethical and transparent in the way it deals with artists and the public. Taking a stab at the horrendous fees that other labels, managers and agents take - leaving the artist with very little per album sale - an Occupation spokesperson said that the industry needed something that "values people - employees, artists and consumers - more than profit".
When discussing why the label wouldn't be working with Apple, Occupation pointed at the human rights violations cited by Foxconn employees and those at other Apple production facilities. It also cited Apple's supplier progress report that said over 90 of the fruity firm's plants had workers that "exceeded weekly working hour limits of 60 hours." Not to mention the fact that over 150 employees recently threatened to throw themselves from the roof of a Foxconn plant in protest of poor working conditions.
The evidence against Amazon isn't something to be proud of either. Occupation said that the retail giant punishes employees for taking sick days and hasn't improved working conditions for over a decade. Citing a particular day, the record label said that 15 employees collapsed at an Amazon warehouse due to extreme temperatures of 43 degrees celsius, maintained over an 11 hour shift. The only breaks they had during this time was one unpaid hour for lunch and two short 15 minute sessions.
To encapsulate the music label's feelings on the matter, industry relations manager Adam Jung said: "For our part, Occupation Records will not distribute through Apple's iTunes or Amazon until these companies begin to value people over profit, and we call on the music industry to join us. Let's occupy the music industry."
"The music industry has previously helped to ensure that merchandise is ethically manufactured and sourced, and can also claim a victory when they forced Apple to offer DRM free content. There is no reason they couldn't force both Apple and Amazon's hands on human and labour rights."