On Monday, Digital Music News posted an article titled “I Just Found 37 White Supremacist Hate Bands on Spotify.”
The article addressed a disturbing trend that hate bands have found a new home on digital streaming music platforms.
In 2014, the Southern Poverty Law Center directed a campaign against white power music on iTunes, but as the Digital Music News points out, streaming has blown up in the time since the SPLC’s campaign.
A particularly troubling part of the Digital Music News piece is the algorithm that you and I use to find music that we like is the same tool white supremacists can use to find more shitty white supremacist music.
From the Digital Music News:
“Perhaps adding a spark to the resurgence is Spotify’s own, well-tuned recommendation engine… In fact, it was pretty easy to find hate-oriented groups simply by referencing similar artists on Spotify itself. Indeed, sophisticated affinity and recommendation engines on larger platforms like YouTube have been blamed for fanning the flames on extremist ideologies and conspiracy theories.”
In response, Spotify issued a statement to Billboard that they are taking the necessary steps to remove these bands from the platform.
A Spotify spokeswoman told Billboard that the streaming service will take necessary action against hate bands:
“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.”
Spotify has taken further action, adding a Patriotic Passion playlist with music from Jimi Hendrix, Lady Gaga, and Khalid.
In a separate statement, a Spotify spokeswoman said the playlist is “a soundtrack to an America worth fighting for.”
As the country continues to reel from white nationalist demonstrations in Charlottesville last weekend, services that provide a safe haven for hate groups, even if unintentionally, will have to react accordingly.
Hopefully these kinds of services will be more proactive in policing the presence of hate on their platforms.