Jimi Hendrix, James Brown Honored for Spotify's Black History Month

Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross will also be highlighted in streaming service's new series

Jimi Hendrix and James Brown will be among four artists honored by Spotify for Black History Month Credit: Petra Niemeier/Getty; Mick Hutson/Getty

In celebration of Black History Month, music streaming service Spotify will honor one iconic artist each week throughout February.

Today, a week of Aretha Franklin-centric content will kick off a month that will also highlight Jimi Hendrix (week of February 9th), Diana Ross (week of February 16th) and James Brown (week of February 23rd). For each artist week, Spotify will be releasing a playlist featuring their top 20 streamed tracks in the U.S. as well as a new "Influence" tool showcasing how these artists' innovations have reverberated across the music industry.

The "Influence" tool is an innovative application where fans can plug in any popular musician — "from One Direction to Lana Del Rey" as each page touts — to see the connections they have to Spotify's artist of the week in a style similar to six degrees of separation. Even musicians who don't have their catalogues on Spotify — like Taylor Swift — are able to get charted in the lineage of these artists and each "Influence" page connection links to a short playlist containing songs by the musician the user has chosen, the Black History Month artist of the week and the musical connections between the two. 

All four artists have been in the news plenty in recent years. Both Hendrix and Brown were the subjects of blockbuster biopics in 2014, while Ross and Franklin continue to tour and perform. Beginning in 2013, Ross' time with Motown founder Berry Gordy was chronicled in the Broadway show Motown: The Musical while Franklin released Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics. The album includes her hit cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," one of her top 20 streamed songs.

Hear each artist's top 20 streamed tracks below. 

Aretha Franklin - Top Streamed Tracks

Jimi Hendrix - Top Streamed Tracks

Diana Ross - Top Streamed Tracks

James Brown - Top Streamed Tracks