Spotify allows patrons to mute artists

By Peter Zemeske

Music streaming giant Spotify is releasing a new feature which allows users to block artists from appearing in their libraries, playlists and radio stations. However, it won’t block songs the artist is featured on. The feature is currently only available on iOS devices in the latest Spotify update. The feature is a welcome change to the streaming service for people who want to boycott artists or just block annoying songs.

The feature is activated by selecting “don’t play this artist” in an artist’s settings. Once the feature is activated, the user won’t see songs from the artist outside of searching the artist or song by the artist. The addition comes primarily in response to people advocating for R. Kelly’s removal from streaming platforms and record labels after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced in the Lifetime documentary series, “Surviving R. Kelly.” Instead of removing him completely from the service, allowing users to block his music from playing is a fair compromise. Sony Music recently broke ties with Kelly on Jan. 18.

Spotify retracted a similar policy called the “hateful conduct” policy in June 2018 after a massive backlash from fans and artists like Kendrick Lamar, who threatened to pull his music from Spotify after hearing about the policy. Spotify claimed the policy was put in place to remove any artist engaging in hateful speech or conduct from their editorial and algorithmic playlists such as Discover Weekly and RapCaviar, according to a May 10, 2018 Billboard article. The policy allowed users to stream the artists freely and only removed them from playlists.

Spotify hasn’t released a statement about the new feature or when it will be available for Android and desktop versions. Users will find the feature useful for removing controversial artists from their playlists in order to stop supporting them with streaming numbers.