Spotify has removed several bands classified as “hate bands” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The decision comes one day after Digital Music News published a list of 37 white supremacist musicians still available to stream on the platform. Now, a Spotify spokesperson has confirmed to Billboard that several of the artists have been pulled from the streaming service, while others are still under review.
In 2014, the Southern Poverty Law Center published a report on racism and digital music titled Music, Money, and Hate. It concluded that there were at least 54 white supremacist bands selling music on iTunes that Apple was profiting from. Apple responded to the report by removing the bands, but SPLC noted at the time that Spotify and Amazon were slow to do the same.
Spotify claims that they weren't aware these bands were on its platform. The removal of the bands follows a violent rally of white nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend.
Spotify hosts millions of bands and musicians, and although many of those come with a label or distributor, licensing companies like TuneCore and CD Baby allow anyone to easily and cheaply put their music on Spotify, with little friction from Spotify itself.
But even if Spotify doesn’t review every band that shows up on its platform, some of its built-in tools aren’t helping the matter. Digital Music News reporter Paul Resnikoff notes that it was simple to find white supremacist bands on Spotify because of the streaming service’s recommendation algorithm. Once you find one band, Spotify basically sends the rest your way. Spotify is considering ways to block these recommendations in the future,but then finding new music will be an issue?
As of now, many of the hate bands discovered by Digital Music News are still available to stream on Spotify, but several have empty artist pages with no music. We will have to wait and see what Spotify's next step will be.