From Iceland — Musicians Can Forbid Radio Stations From Playing Their Songs

Musicians Can Forbid Radio Stations From Playing Their Songs

Published September 23, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Grapevine Archives

Musicians do have the legal right to forbid select radio stations from playing their music, and the channels to do so are relatively straightforward.

As reported, both the band Ljótu Hálfvitarnir and legendary singer-songwriter Bubbi Morthens have publicly announced that they forbid radio station Útvarp Saga from playing any more of their songs, including songs they may write in the future. This ban is to stay in effect “for as long as Útvarp Saga continues to sow prejudice and hatred” towards Muslims, asylum seekers, homosexuals and assorted foreigners.

Both statements were made publicly and in no uncertain terms, but the legal process for making such a ban official takes more than a Facebook post.

Guðrún Björk Bjarnadóttir, the managing director of The Performing Rights Society of Iceland (STEF), told RÚV that musicians do have the legal right to forbid select stations from playing their music. In order to make it official, though, the process needs to be handled in one of two ways: either musicians tell STEF to tell a select station to stop playing their music, or the musician can contact the station directly. In either case, 30 days notice must be given before the ban can take effect.

The backlash against Útvarp Saga comes in the wake of a recent online poll Útvarp Saga posted on their website, which asked respondents if they trusted Muslims. For the record, the majority of respondents – 51.2% – said that they did.

This is also not the first time Útvarp Saga has made Muslims the focus of their attention. Last March, one of Útvarp Saga’s hosts, Arnþrúður Karlsdóttir, posted a photo of herself to the station’s Facebook page, dressed in what looked like a burqa (but was in fact a ski mask and a black top), along with the question, “Will radio people of the future look like this?”

Last week, she told the radio show Harmageddon that members of ISIS were directly connected to Muslim organisations in Iceland, although she provided no evidence whatsoever to back up the claim.

The show has been accused of more generalised xenophobia as well, as they repeatedly call immigrants under suspicion as having a negative effect on Iceland’s economy and culture.

For her part, Arnþrúður is not too concerned, saying that Ljótu Hálfvitarnir (which means “The Ugly Idiots”), have “lived up to their name”, and that the backlash is “nothing more than the suppression of opinion”.

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