Neo-Nazi Spotify-Style Music Service Continues To Raise Money via Credit Card Companies

Major credit card corporations are providing their services to a Spotify-inspired neo-Nazi music streaming platform that requires their cards to secure subscriptions.

On its website, Liberplay brands itself as "the world's first alternative streaming service" that is pro-freedom of speech and against censorship.

It adds: "We don't want culture to be censored, regardless of its content! Here, at Liberplay, you will find a possibility to find the content of a free world."

However, a quick search on its website reveals a host of bands that have fascist or white supremacist names and use neo-Nazi imagery or lyrics.

Bands with names like "Aryan Rebels," "Germanium and Brigade 88" and "Vit Legion" (white legion) are among the dozens of groups featured on the website.

Liberplay also actively promoted the band "Whitelaw" on its now-removed Instagram page. The group featured a photo of British fascist Oswald Mosley on its album cover.

On the same page, Liberplay appealed to neo-Nazis and other far-right members by advertising itself as "streaming for nationalists."

A dive into Liberplay's Telegram channel shows it regularly promotes clothing and music brands run by white supremacists.

Despite Liberplay hosting nearly 4,000 white supremacist and neo-Nazi songs, major credit card companies continue to provide their services on the website.

Visa, Mastercard and American Express were listed among the credit card companies that were needed to sign up for the white supremacist music subscription service.

Liberplay said it needed credit cards to pay for one of three monthly paid subscriptions ranging from € 7.99 ($9.65) to €29.99 ($36.22).

Christopher Magyarics, a senior investigative researcher for the Anti-Defamation League, told Newsweek credit card companies had a duty to help prevent the spread of extremism.

But, he said the design of the website did not overtly show its far-right content and that people would have to actively look at the band names to understand it was hosting white supremacist music.

He told Newsweek: "That's where it becomes problematic for some of these companies. Obviously, they have a responsibility basically to stop the spread of extremist messages whenever they have that opportunity.

"It becomes a really difficult challenge for those that are going to say 'hey, we're not going to provide our service,' whether it is MasterCard, Visa or AmEx, to go in there and say 'don't use our service,' because they would have to have a member of staff that would have to be able to go in there and recognize that this is extremist."

Magyarics continued: "What's interesting about Liberplay is they say the only way you can currently subscribe is through major credit cards, they're not using any kind of cryptocurrency or PayPal or any other service like that. They are strictly using only four or five credit cards to be able to subscribe to the service."

A Mastercard spokesperson told Newsweek the company would take action if any illegal activity was found.

The statement, sent via email, added: "We operate our network on the principle that consumers should be able to make lawful purchases.

"When it comes to transactions permissible by law, we respect individuals' right to transact privately with others. While we hold all stakeholders in our payments system to high standards, if illegal activity is identified, we work with partners to act."

A spokesperson for Visa said in an email that the company would not be providing a comment.

American Express did not reply to Newsweek's request for comment.

While Liberplay had only a few thousand followers across its social media pages, the streaming service has been promoted by far-right figures. These include American white supremacist Robert Rundo, who is currently on the run in eastern Europe.

He is among several neo-Nazi and white supremacists who have shared Liberplay's content to a combined audience of tens of thousands of subscribers.

Magyarics told Newsweek music continues to play a large role in far-right recruitment and offered another opportunity for white supremacists to reach new members.

He said: "Last I saw [Liberplay] was close to 4,000 songs that they've got on their platform, which that's not huge when you compare it to something like Spotify. But, since it is a genre of music that is very specific I think that's pretty incredible."

Magyarics later added: "Music is and continues to play a role in the recruitment efforts of white supremacists and as they get booted from those other platforms, even not something that is necessarily streaming such as YouTube, where this is an opportunity to post their white power music and videos, if you will, to get that message out there in an effort to try and recruit.

"We have seen this time and time again."

Mahyarics added he did not believe Liberplay was a libertarian website and that it was actively promoting white supremacy on its platform.

He continued: "I honestly don't think this is libertarian and that there are just some bad seeds coming in there. If you look at the names of the bands, you would have to be ignorant not to recognize a band that is called 'Angry Aryans' or 'Blue Eyed Devils.'"

While it is not known who is behind Liberplay, Newsweek found the website domain was created in January 2019 and that it was using a server based in Hessen, central Germany.

Liberplay's now-removed Flickr account listed the name "Anders Andersson," although the first and surnames are common in Scandinavia and could be a pseudonym.

Reddit and Facebook had already removed Liberplay from its platforms when Newsweek first searched for them and Instagram took down its page after it was alerted to the white supremacist content.

A Facebook spokesperson said: "We do not want hate on our platform. We have removed the account brought to our attention and blocked the URL from being shared on Facebook or Instagram.

"We've banned over 250 white supremacist organizations from Facebook and Instagram, and will continue removing content that praises, supports or represents these groups. That includes content containing swastikas and other hate symbols.

"Last year, we removed nearly 1 million pieces of content tied to hate organizations from Instagram and we're always investing in technology to find and remove it faster."

Flickr told Newsweek it had removed Liberplay's page on its account and added: "Flickr has a zero-tolerance policy towards attacking a person or group based on, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, disease, age, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity."

Newsweek has contacted Telegram, Twitter, Tumblr and Liberplay for comment.

The music streaming service accepts credit cards
The music streaming service accepts credit cards. Stock image. monkeybusinessimages/Getty