Spotify’s “Don’t Play This Artist” Option Allows Streamers To Block Artists

Music is a hobby that one can enjoy on various channels, services, and platforms of their choice. Whether if it’s iTunes, Pandora, Soundcloud, etc., listeners can choose any songs or artists they want to listen to. One valuable thing about these platforms is that listeners can become fans of artists they’ve never heard of before.

Blocking Artist content

However, Spotify has released a feature for their iOS app that allows listeners to block content from any artist. Although the block works on individual artists, it won’t work if the artists are on featured songs. Additionally, listeners on Spotify’s desktop app can block the artist too by muting them.

Background Behind The Feature

One reason for developing the feature was due to the controversy surrounding R&B star R. Kelly. A documentary titled Surviving R. Kelly discussed the 25 years of sexual violence and abuse committed by him. As a result of the accusations from the documentary, RCA Records has dropped him from their label. Similarly, Spotify dropped R. Kelly from its curated playlists to crack down on artists who “demonstrated against hateful conduct”.  Consequently, Spotify users will continue to stream R. Kelly’s music regardless of the lack of promotion for it. A similar feature called the “Anti-Star” proposed excluding tracks by flagging them.

How Does This Feature Work?

According to Thurrott, the streamer can block the selected artist(s) on every category listed on Spotify. Those categories include curated playlists, personal playlists, charts, radio, and the list goes on. As mentioned, blocked artists can still appear on featured songs, which can irritate streamers who wish to avoid their music. However, if there is one song from the blocked artist the streamers want to listen to, they would have to unblock that artist.

Artist blocking effects

The new Spotify feature provides the streamers an opportunity to choose who they don’t want to listen to. The feature also affected other streaming platforms as Lady Gaga removed her 2013 collaboration with R. Kelly from iTunes. Regarding the EDM industry, the feature can also affect DJs who have faced or are currently facing allegations. For example, Zedd might face blocks from streamers due to an alleged rape he committed in an Atlanta nightclub. There is criticism that Spotify’s new feature has placed the streamers as the sole judges of the artists. No one can tell if the feature will succeed or not. This is because it all depends on the streamers’ musical preferences.

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Ken Ngo

Ken is a passionate sports and music fan with soccer being his #1 sport and European (particularly French and Dutch) house music being his #1 genre. His favorite producers are Martin Solveig, Sebastian Ingrosso, Madeon, Tiesto, Martin Garrix, and Armin Van Buuren.

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