Spotify has finally solved its biggest conundrum yet. Instead of removing entire discographies by problematic artists from its platform, it'll allow users the pleasure of blocking or muting these artists themselves.
The company has recently come under intense pressure to remove R. Kelly's music from its library after a controversial documentary detailing the musician's sexual transgressions came out. Spotify had already removed R. Kelly's music from curated playlists a while back, but the company still drew ire because his music remains available on the platform.
Spotify Has A Genius Solution For Problematic Artists
For a while it became unclear just how Spotify would go about the situation, to the point where its silence on the matter was starting to be perceived as indifference. Soon it can avoid that pressure altogether and just let people themselves decide whether they should keep listening to a particular artists or not.
The feature, currently in testing on iOS, is called "don't play this artist," and it was first spotted by Thurrott. The new block functionality is pretty straightforward, letting users block an entire artist's body of work so they never get played. It doesn't matter if the song comes from a library, playlist, chart list, or even radio stations on Spotify — if blocked, it'll be like their music never existed.
The feature works on songs by an individual artist. However, it doesn't currently work on songs in which the artist is merely featured.
Say, for example, a user blocks R. Kelly's music. Songs in which he's the main artist will then be removed. However, a song like "Betcha Gon' Know," which is by Mariah Carey but features R. Kelly, will still appear. This seems too crucial a factor for Spotify to have missed, but do note that the feature is still in testing and the company may also remove featured songs at a later point.
Thurrott notes that Spotify developed blocking capabilities back in 2017 but decided not to release them "after serious consideration." The company has now reversed that decision, clearly.
Spotify is essentially leaving it to its users whether they want to keep listening to a particular artist or not. On a business standpoint, it makes perfect sense to give them this power. Any decision by Spotify regarding removing music from problematic artists will upset some people in one way or another, so why not just give them the freedom to block and mute which artists they prefer to disappear from their rotation? It's a dead-simple solution, and one has to wonder why Spotify didn't roll it out earlier.
Spotify has yet to confirm when the feature will come out, so make sure to check back with Tech Times as we learn more.