Even Spotify isn’t aware of all the music on its platform, which contains millions upon millions of songs and tracks. Apparently, so-called “white supremacist music” was prevalent enough that Spotify went and removed all of it.
The music was brought to the platform’s attention after Digital Music News posted a story headlined “I Just Found 27 White Supremacist Hate Bands On Spotify.”
A Spotify spokeswoman reached out to Billboard for an official statement, affirming that “illegal content or material that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us.”
“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,” she said in the statement.
In the same statement, Spotify pushes a new playlist called Patriotic Passion that includes a Jimi Hendrix rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, Lady Gaga’s “Americano,” and Khalid’s “American Teen.”
As Billboard points out, such an action by Spotify takes into account the rules of free speech.
“Deciding whether such content is legal is difficult given the range of laws in different markets, and the task requires careful listening, given the often coded racist slang used in such tunes,” writes Billboard. “There’s also a fear of bringing more attention to hate bands by making them into a legal issue, experts say. Deezer last year launched a site where users could report hate music and help it clean up questionable songs.”
Update: Deezer reached out and offered their own statement.
“Deezer does not condone any type of discrimination or form of hate against individuals or groups because of their race, religion, gender or sexuality. We are in the process of swiftly and actively reviewing the content on our platform and have begun and will continue to remove any material that is in any way connected to any white supremacist movement or belief system.”
There’s no doubt that both sides of the argument will have very different interpretations of this action. As a private company, Spotify can make its own rules as to what content it allows, but that will not stop the alt-right and supporters of the music from crying foul.