It’s finally here — Spotify will give you the option to mute musicians you detest on its platform. While you do not have the option to mute people you don’t want to listen to in real life, Spotify has created the next best thing.
This new feature can be found on an individual artist’s page in the upper-right-hand menu and prompts the option “don’t play this artist.” Additionally, the feature removes all music by this artist from your library. This tool allows users to block particular artists from playing in personal and curated playlists, radio stations and top 100 charts. As of right now, this option is only available on the app made for mobile devices.
This new feature seems as if it has been a long time coming, as in the last few years Spotify has faced increased pressure to create an option that allows users to block an artist on their own accord.
Much of this pressure comes from the #MeToo movement and the recent
MuteR.Kelly protest that called for all of the R&B singer’s music to be removed from the platform and distribution in general. The protest against R. Kelly’s music comes in light of repeated sexual assault allegations, with increased outcry from the general public after the Lifetime documentary "Surviving R. Kelly" debuted.
MuteR.Kelly as a movement and as a hashtag, has increased and renewed the attention to Kelly’s case — or lack thereof —and the overall challenge of women of color. The hashtag has specifically called attention to young black girls’ ability to be taken seriously when reporting sexual assault and abuse.
The Spotify feature, though, does not just benefit the average user who wants to keep abusers and holding a tight grip on some of the curated Spotify playlists.
Now, streamers have the option to deem XXXTentacion xxxtinct from their playlists and remove Meghan Trainer’s whine out of their Discover Weekly.
This new feature allows for the platform to become even more customizable to the user's preferences, which should be the main goal of the app which (without the student discount, of course) is $9.99 per month on premium.
Of course, you can use Spotify for free. But most of us live in a bubble of privilege, willing to dish out the cash to avoid putting up with ads.
So, it is reasonable to argue that Spotify should be willing to bend over backward to make us, the streamers, happy.
Regardless of if these updates are made for social changes, it begs the question of whether these streaming sites have to go through the trouble of changing their platforms at all.
Will the margins really going down if a mute option wasn’t created? You don’t see too many people who had Spotify jumping to Apple Music or Tidal, neither of which are muting R. Kelly or 6ix9ine, who recently plead guilty to the use of a child in a sexual performance. So, does this feature really even matter, or does it just placate those calling for change?
Mila Yoch is a staff writer.