Spotify has removed music from a number of acts that were identified as racist “hate bands” by US civil rights advocacy group the Southern Poverty Law Center three years ago.
The streaming firm acted in response to an article on Digital Music News that claimed to identify 37 white supremacist hate bands available on the service.
The article followed the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month during a white supremacist rally. This rightfully resulted in a discussion around overtly racist political groups and the question has to be asked- why were such groups available on there in the first place?
Spotify told Billboard that it had now removed the acts listed in the article, adding that it generally relies on its label and distributor partners to filter out content of this kind, but that “illegal content or material that favours hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us”.
A spokesperson added: “Spotify takes immediate action to remove any such material as soon as it has been brought to our attention. We are glad to have been alerted to this content – and have already removed many of the bands identified today, whilst urgently reviewing the remainder”.
This surely underlines the point that Spotify et al must realise that they have more responsibility than simply providing a platform, especially in politically turbulent times- though admittedly, streaming services face a tall order in determining what to remove and what to protect from their vast global libraries. The key challenge is in identifying the content and preserving free speech while not allowing hateful and illegal messaging to slip through the net.
In other fun Spotify news, it has been announced that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is scrutinising the music company’s plan to skip a traditional share sale and list directly on the New York Stock Exchange.
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