V&A MuseumSpotify Playlists

Protest Playlists

To celebrate the launch of the V&A’s exhibition, “You Say You Want A Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966—1970” we created a digital campaign to encourage further debate on some of the themes that the exhibition explores. One of these projects was our Protest Playlists. Music has always reflected the times in which it was made. In any era you can trace the politics, ideals, fears and frustrations of the time through the music that was created. From Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit and Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changin’ through to Kendrick Lamar and Vince Staples, musicians have always been at the forefront of pushing for social change through their art. From this, we created 8 collaboartive Spotify Playlists using the main sociopolitical themes of the exhibition. From race equality to anti war to LGBTQI rights, people were able to populate these playlists with their favourite protest songs. These playlists were then shared on social media where the debate continued and people were exposed to new protest music, old and new, from all over the world.

For our final playlist, we invited five music artists, four bands and one music journalist to nominate their favourite protest songs. From a trilingual song about the first seven seconds of a newborn’s life to a track with the most ‘f’-words ever recorded, the playlist is a diverse mix of music that stands as a reminder of the importance of music in highlighting inequalities and helping to push for change.