Why does Spotify allow hate speech and racial slurs as playlist titles?

  • Save on computer

Racial Insults on Spotify

  • Save on computer

Why is it possible to create Spotify playlists with hate speech and racial slurs in the title? An artist shares the frustrating process of discovering hate speech on their artist profile — and how long it took Spotify to do something about it.

One of the neat features of the Spotify app is that every time your tracks are added to the playlist, they appear on your artist page. This allows artists to see who is listening and following their music at a glance. However, it can also present some challenges when Spotify users create playlists containing hate speech and racial slurs.

Rapper Wasted Potency reached out to Digital Music News after being frustrated with how long it took Spotify to do something about playlist name abuse. After repeated emails and attempts to contact Spotify on Twitter, the rapper shared his experience.

Someone is creating user playlists with extremely obnoxious names like ‘TOTAL N***** DEATH VOL.’ 14′ which appears under the heading ‘Discovered On’ on the Spotify homepage. “The playlist has been reported countless times by many people and it’s coming back. The escalation team hasn’t contacted me in three months. I got a message and that’s it. If I were a label artist, it would certainly be done in two seconds,” the rapper comments on his problem.

The rapper contacted Spotify’s artist support on June 4 and still haven’t received a response. Spotify told the rapper at the time: “The case is already under investigation. Please note that the request may take some time. Rest assured that the team behind this report is already aware of it,” the email said.

What’s interesting to me is that these racial slurs can be included in a community playlist without even attempting to circumvent moderation measures. This makes abusive playlisting a practice that can happen to anyone with a Spotify artist page – one disgruntled fan or troll is enough. Of course, it’s against Spotify’s terms of service to use such utterances, and accounts will likely be banned.

Creating Spotify accounts is free and anyone can create a playlist. If Spotify were on top of things, racial slurs and other offensive language wouldn’t appear in playlists on artist pages. But here we are dealing with an indie rapper engaged in trolling that took well over three months to resolve. Digital Music News previously reported on Spotify’s hosting of Nazi music – resulting in the music being taken off the platform.

Have you experienced this kind of playlist abuse on Spotify or any other platform? Contact Digital Music News and let us know how the platform handled your issue. You can email me at ashley(a)digitalmusicnews.com.