Spotify announced it has removed “hate bands” identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center from the streaming service.
The removal comes after Digital Music News, in the wake of last week’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, identified at least 27 “hate bands” from the SPLC list on Spotify. Additionally, because of Spotify’s filtering algorithm, bands that catered to neo-Nazi and white supremacist audiences that fell outside the SPLC list were also easily discoverable.
“Spotify takes immediate action to remove any such material as soon as it has been brought to our attention,” the service said in a statement (via Billboard). “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.”
A Spotify rep added that the music is provided by record companies and aggregators, and “that illegal content or material that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us.”
In 2014, Apple’s iTunes took similar action with the SPLC’s list of 54 white power groups, banishing the bands from its music. The SPLC also condemned Spotify for its “slow” handling of the matter.
“Spotify has said it uses a list produced by Germany’s Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons to identify artists and music that should be removed,” the SPLC wrote in December 2014. “Content can also be flagged by users or others for Spotify to review. But as of today, Spotify has not removed any songs from a list of hate music provided by the SPLC.”
Spotify responded at the time, “We take this very seriously. Content – artists and music – listed by [German agency Federal Review Board for Media Harmful to Minors] BPjM in Germany is proactively removed from our service. We’re a global company, so we use the BPjM index as a global standard for these issues. Other potentially hateful or objectionable content that is flagged by uses or others but not on the BPjM list is handled on a case by case basis.”
Two-and-a-half years later, Spotify has finally taken steps to remove those bands from the service.
Spotify also announced they have curated their new “Patriotic Passion” playlist, “a soundtrack to an America worth fighting for.” The playlist features tracks by artists like Simon & Garfunkel, N.W.A, Lady Gaga, Jimi Hendrix, Madonna and more.