Spotify has taken immediate action to remove an array of white-supremacist acts from its streaming service after they had been tagged as racist “hate bands” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The move has come after Digital Music News ran an article entitled ‘I Just Found 27 White Supremacist Hate bands On Spotify’.
“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,” a spokesman told Billboard in the statement.
The statement went on to explain that the artists uploading content to their vast database are “at first hand responsible”, before explaining that “illegal content or material that favours hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us.”
The move comes in the wake of the Charlottesville incident in which one woman was killed by a supremacist who rammed a car into anti-racist protesters in Virginia.
As Stereogum keenly point out, the move opens up a debate around freedom of speech with Spotify ultimately deciding the agenda, they wrote:
In trying to keep hate music off their services, Spotify and other music-streaming companies face a tricky task in determining what to remove and what to protect from their vast libraries in the interest of free speech. Deciding whether such content is legal is difficult given the range of laws in different markets, and the task requires careful listening, given the often coded racist slang used in such tunes. There’s also a fear of bringing more attention to hate bands by making them into a legal issue, experts say.
In response to this, Spotify replied: “It’s a soundtrack to an America worth fighting for,” the spokeswoman said in a separate statement after it was mentioned that the streaming site happily promote a new playlist called ‘Patriotic Passion’ featuring Lady Gaga’s ‘Americano’ and Khalid’s ‘American Teen’.