Music Industry

Published on January 22nd, 2019 | by Alan Cross

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Let’s talk about Spotify’s new artist blocking feature

If you’re listener to Spotify’s playlists, you’re inevitably served up music from an artist you don’t like or detest on moral/ethical reasons (e.g. R Kelly and Chris Brown).

Spotify tried to respond to public pressure by removing artists accused of bad/illegal/immoral reasons under its now-aborted “hateful content” policies (cf. XXXTentacion) but that resulted in (a) accusations of censorship; and (b) an increase in streams of those controversial artists.

The solution seems to be rather than de-listing an artist from playlists or the entire platform to instead allow individual users to make their own decisions about who to filter out.

A new feature is being tested out with a select group of users. The new tool lets users block music from any music from any artist you don’t like through the Spotify universe. It will filter out those artists from automatically curated playlists (like Discover Weekly or Rap Caviar), charts, radio stations–even your own personal library.

Don’t want any R Kelly or Chris Brown? Tired of Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber? Just enter them into the “don’t play this artist” feature and you’ll be Kelly- Brown- Sheeran- Bieber-free.

Spotify hasn’t said anything official about this feature yet, but like I said, it has been spotted in the wild with certain users. We’ll see if the company rolls it out to everyone.

(Via Tech Radar)




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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2 Responses to Let’s talk about Spotify’s new artist blocking feature

  1. Steph D says:

    FINALLY! That was my biggest pet peeve with their playlists. Next on my list is the inability to remove ‘plays’ from my history. The more accidental plays (which are happening a lot since I got my Google Home), the more screwed up the algorithm is going to get. We need the ability to scrub those wrong picks to keep the algorithm accurate.

  2. GZ says:

    i don’t know why their usage of the data that they already collect is so bad. back in the day lastfm would know, just by what you skipped and what you played what to suggest and what to skip altogether (both artists and whole genres). despite all the talk about big data, spotify ultimately is doing what old school record stores used to do: take label promo money and paper the place with the face of whoever they are hawking this week.

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