Spotify has joined the fight against hate by removing a number of white supremacist bands from its service.
According to Billboard, the decision was made shortly after Digital Music News published a list of 37 “hate bands” that were available to stream on Spotify. The ousted acts were given the “hate band” title by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2014; however, a spokesperson for the company said they were not aware of this content until the DMN story was began circulating on the internet.
“Spotify takes immediate action to remove any such material as soon as it has been brought to our attention,” a Spotify spokesperson said in a statement to Billboard. “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.”
The spokesperson also explained that the music featured on the service comes from a wide range of record companies and aggregators, which are "at first hand responsible”; however, the representative said Spotify is committed to scrubbing hateful content from its catalog once it’s identified.
“Illegal content or material that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us,” the spokesperson said.
Billboard points out that most of the “hate bands” had very little listen counts, but users could easily find these acts by using Spotify’s recommendation algorithm.
As for the issue of free speech, Billboard reports companies like Spotify face a difficult task in determining which music should be removed. The company must consider laws in different countries and carefully listen to each song, as many of them include arcane racist slang.
In conjunction with the removal of “hate bands,” Spotify is promoting a new playlist called Patriotic Passion, which includes music by Nas, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Lady Gaga, Khalid, and Lana Del Rey.