afaqs! news bureau

Spotify quietly shows support for 'Black Lives Matter' movement

It participated in 'Black Out Tuesday', and now, it's boosting Black musicians and podcasts. This is how Spotify has been supporting the 'BLM' movement.

The murder of African American George Floyd sparked off protests under the 'Black Lives Matter' ('BLM') movement in different parts of the world. Many brands, such as Johnson & Johnson, Reebok, HBO, Facebook, MTV, and Coca-Cola, used their social media platforms to show support for the movement, and to stand in solidarity with those protesting for equality.

June 2 was 'Black Out Tuesday', a day of collective disconnect from work meant to help people reflect and come together in support of the Black community. Spotify announced that it will support its employees, friends, partners, artistes, and creators in the fight against racism, injustice, and inequity.

The music streaming giant has found ways to incorporate solidarity into the content available on its platform, in a bid to pay respect to Floyd and the 'BLM' movement. In a press note on its site, Spotify also mentions that it is using its platform to stand with Black creators, amplify their voices, and accelerate meaningful conversation and long-needed change.

Blacked out channels, playlists, and podcasts

First and foremost, on June 2, Spotify announced that it will pause social media publication as a symbol of solidarity, and as a reminder that things can't remain status quo. Listeners will see a black logo and headline image on more than a dozen of the flagship playlists and podcasts, including Today’s Top Hits and RapCaviar, as well as all of the urban and R&B playlists, and many podcast covers. Select participating playlists and podcasts will include an eight-minute, 46-second track of silence as a solemn acknowledgment for the length of time that Floyd was suffocated.

Black History Is Now hub activation

Spotify will also amplify Black voices by further leveraging its long-standing Black History Is Now hub, which will serve as a central resource and home for music, playlists, and podcasts like Code Switch, You Had Me at Black, and Higher Learning with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay. The hub will also feature several playlists, including Black History Salute and We Shall Overcome. The Black Lives Matter playlist, which was updated for Black Music Month in June, will also be featured.

Spotify's Black Lives Matter playlist
Spotify's Black Lives Matter playlist

Special curation of playlists

In addition to adapting the visual presentation of the platform, there will be special curation of select songs on each of the blacked out playlists to reflect the current environment. For example, expect to hear a Kendrick Lamar song upon playing RapCaviar, a Gary Clark Jr. anthem for Rock This, and Rhiannon Giddens when you stream Indigo.

Targeted shelf and advertising

Users in the US will also see a targeted shelf positioned prominently on the home page of both desktop and mobile apps that drives to Black Out playlists. Additionally, Spotify will be running related ads globally on the Spotify Free Tier. Both of these efforts will ensure that more listeners have the opportunity to hear from Black voices.

The Window podcast programming

Later in June, Spotify will be launching season 2 of Spotify’s The Window podcast. The initial season focused on the lives of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Season 2 will evolve its storytelling to now focus on the experiences of the Black community at this moment in time. Hear from individuals, such as a Black business owner in an area affected by protests, a victim of police brutality, and a Black police officer. The goal is to further the conversation and use the Spotify platform to share these stories that help humanise each other.

Within the organisation, the note mentions, the streaming service has also encouraged all employees around the world to observe 'Black Out Tuesday' (on June 2) by taking time to reflect and educate themselves. Spotify has also shared resources on what it means to be an effective ally to the Black community, and 'Spotifiers' will have access to trained mental health providers. Additionally, Spotify claimed it will match financial donations made by employees to organisations focused on the fight against racism, injustice, inequity, and driving meaningful change.