Business News Digital Top Stories

Spotify launches artist blocking feature

By | Published on Tuesday 22 January 2019


Spotify’s hateful conduct policy having backfired so dramatically last year, the streaming service has now introduced a new feature allowing individual users to wipe specific artists from their playlists. Which means it can pass the buck on to its customers over whether or not artists accused of hateful conduct should be banished from its playlists.

In the latest version of Spotify’s iOS app it is now possible to select ‘don’t play this artist’ from any artist’s profile on the streaming service. Turning this on will remove that artist’s music from your library, user-generated and automated playlists, charts and radio stations.

This is a feature that users have requested in the past. However, back in 2017 Spotify said that “after serious consideration” it had decided not to implement it. Subsequently it launched its ‘hateful conduct’ policy, which saw the company draw up its own list of artists it would not promote on its playlists due to allegations or convictions of ‘hateful’ actions.

R Kelly and XXXtentacion were the first artists placed on the list, but there was a backlash due to a lack of clarity on what Spotify deemed ‘hateful’, and the policy was dropped.

The new feature means that the streaming firm itself doesn’t have to decide what conduct, or alleged conduct, is sufficiently hateful to deserve a boycott. Though maybe it could introduce a new recommendations tab along the lines of “here are some hateful artists you might like to block” or “here are the artists other Ariana Grande fans thought were hateful this week”. Then add in a “most hateful artists” chart with an accompanying playlist stripped of all its music. Endless potential!