2020-06-01T18:40:39-04:00 2020-06-02T13:04:03-04:00

Spotify to refrain from joining Black Out Tuesday and instead launch modified programming [Updated]

*This is an updated article to a previous piece that covered Spotify's initial involvement in the music industry's Black Out Tuesday. 

On June 1, tech company Spotify issued an official statement that they will no longer be joining the music industry-wide Black Out event this coming Tuesday. As major music industry labels like Atlantic Records, Def Jam, Capitol Records, Warner Music, RCA Records, and globally recognized musicians like Mick Jagger, Billie Eilish, and Quincy Jones amongst many others, stand in solidarity and unity in observance of Black Out Tuesday, Spotify will, instead, be rolling out their own special set of programming. The new format will also feature a modified landing page meant to amplify and put emphasis on the black entertainment streamed through their platform. It is to the discretion of Spotify's employees to participate in the music industry Black Out Tuesday event separate from the company and any donations toward organizations that fight against racism and injustices must be made on their own. Spotify has agreed to only then match every dollar donated by whatever their employees can afford during this global pandemic.

According to an official statement, the following changes will be put into effect in hopes of amplifying black voices starting at 12:01 AM on Tuesday. 

  • Blacked Out Channels, Playlists, and Podcasts: Listeners will see a black logo and headline image on more than a dozen of our flagship playlists and podcasts, including Today’s Top Hits and RapCaviar, as well as all of our urban and R&B playlists and many podcast covers. Spotify will also pause social publication as a symbol of solidarity that reminds us that things cannot remain status quo. Finally, select participating playlists and podcasts will include a 8-minute, 46-second track of silence, as a solemn acknowledgement for the length of time that George Floyd was suffocated.

*Though country & folk and house & techno music derive heavy influence from black culture and also feature black musicians currently dominating their charts, these playlists will seemingly be left out to focus on more "urban" playlists.

  • Special Curation of Playlists: In addition to adapting the visual presentation of the platform, there will be special curation of select songs on each of the blacked out playlists to reflect the current environment. For example, expect to hear a Kendrick Lamar song upon playing RapCaviar, a Gary Clark Jr. anthem for Rock This, and Rhiannon Giddens when you stream Indigo
  • Targeted Shelf and Advertising: Users in the US will also see a targeted shelf positioned prominently on the home page of both desktop and mobile apps that drives to Black Out playlists. Additionally, we’ll be running related ads globally on the Spotify Free Tier. Both of these efforts will ensure even more listeners have the opportunity to hear from Black voices.  
  • The Window Podcast Programming: Later in June, we’ll be launching season two of Spotify’s The Window podcast. The initial season focused on the lives of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and season two will evolve its storytelling to now focus on the experiences of the Black community at this moment in time. Hear from individuals such as a black business owner in an area affected by protest, a victim of police brutality, and a black police officer—all with the goal of furthering the conversation and using our platform to share these stories and help us humanize each other.

With 286 million active users, the show must go on for Spotify but their team is at least working to utilize their massive platform to celebrate, promote, and support their black voices. The fight against racial injustice deserves our full attention. This Tuesday, the music industry will be ceasing all content as a moment for observance, education, and to take positive action to fight against racism, systemic injustices, and human inequality. Spotify will pause social media publications as a symbol of solidarity that reminds us that things cannot remain status quo. 

It's not a lot but we also still urge those with friends or relatives within the Spotify community to donate or join them in donating to the below organizations in hopes of doubling the overall donation efforts: 

Donate to Black Lives Matter.

Donate to The NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Donate to police reform groups like Campaign Zero.

Get involved with your local Black Lives Matter chapter. 

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