Japanese Breakfast Comments On Participation In Amazon’s Intersect Festival

Two days ago, the Las Vegas music festival Intersect announced additions to its inaugural lineup. One of them was the Black Madonna, a DJ known for her outspoken radical leftist politics. A day after the lineup announcement, the Black Madonna expressed her outrage that Intersect was affiliated with Amazon’s cloud and web hosting division Amazon Web Services, a fact she said was hidden from her when she agreed to perform. (Intersect subsequently let her out of her contract but claimed the Amazon affiliation was mentioned repeatedly in the paperwork.)

Today the dialogue about Intersect has continued on Twitter, with Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner adopting a different stance about performing at the event. “Everyone has the right to be upset,” Zauner wrote. She said she also was unaware Intersect was an Amazon event when she signed on to perform,” But the line to draw in the sand when it comes to branded content feels a bit unclear to me when operating in an industry that relies on a lot of branded content and working within the systemic confines of tech companies being in control of a majority of our royalties.”

Zauner then posted a photo of Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge: “Remember when we are all yes slay queen and this woman likely took over a hundred times our guarantee to stream on amazon?” In response to a Twitter user’s disappointed critique, Zauner continued, “When we signed on for this fest months ago we weren’t told it was presented by AWS. I agree that this and most corps have despicable practices and feel conflicted participating as I did w Coachella. I’m still uncertain how to move forward as a small indie act on a bill.”

She then responded to Adult Mom’s Stevie Knipe, who wrote, “there are hundreds of music festivals across the US and to act like this is your only ‘shot’ to make money or that there’s an ethical line that hasn’t been crossed is frankly diluted. this festival is gross and needs to be boycotted.” Zauner’s reply: “Who… has done that? I don’t think any of us on the festival claimed this was our only shot to make money. I am a little confused why we are complacent to support art that takes 100x the amount of this festival guarantee from the same resource ie shows like fleabag, etc.”

Zauner concluded, “I’m not defending amazon or this festival by any means. I didn’t even know this was an aws fest when we signed on. I’m open to having this dialogue but this was the line in the sand I’m talking about. A ton of musicians have used amazon money for prod expenses and mvs.” Find her tweets below.

Intersect is happening 12/6 and 12/7 at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds. According to a press release, it will feature “a million square feet of games and activities (including a video arcade, post-apocalyptic dodgeball stadium and mega-sized ball pit with over 200,000 balls); immersive artworks from Nonotak, Kytten Janae, Beeple, Ouchhh, Mike808 and others; as well as a 500 drone airshow creative directed by Kacey Musgraves entitled ‘Intel Presents UPLIFT: A drone light show celebrating women in tech in collaboration with Kacey Musgraves,’ accompanied by a donation to benefit Girls in Tech.”