White Supremacist hate music is being removed from streaming music companies, who say the content incites violence and promotes hate.
Online music streaming service Spotify has joined the ranks of communities, businesses, and other music streaming companies fighting racism and responding to President Trump’s inadequate response to the violent protests in Charlottesville, VA last weekend.
While the company did not issue a press release, Spotify is in the process of removing bands with a Neo-Nazi message from their library. Earlier this week, Digital Music News reported that 37 white supremacist hate bands were on Spotify, and 29 of the bands were listed as racist by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). In September 2014, SPLC listed 54 hate bands that were available on iTunes. By 2015, most of these bands were removed from iTunes, but were still available on Spotify and Amazon.
Spotify issued the following official statement to Billboard magazine regarding its removal of racist material from its platform: “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.”
Others have followed suit, including SoundCloud. In a statement to Newsweek, a spokeswoman noted SoundCloud “swiftly removes any content that promotes hate speech once it has been notified.”
As public debates continue over the right to free speech versus what constitutes hate speech, businesses are focusing on their written terms of service that every account holder must agree to before being given an account. iTunes prohibits content that is “obscene, objectionable, and in poor taste.” Spotify’s Terms and Conditions of Use do not allow material that is “offensive, abusive, defamatory, pornographic, threatening, or obscene.”
Online streaming music sites host millions of songs. While most content comes through established labels or music distributors, musicians themselves can post music on services like Spotify without direct review from the company’s staff. If you find and play one hate song, Spotify will recommend other similar songs. According to Billboard, Spotify is considering ways to recognize and block these recommendations. While most of these hate bands have small followings, Spotify still makes money from their music. In addition, such music is available to anyone over the age of 13.
What constitutes hate speech is always tricky, but even more so with regard to music. Over the years, there have been acts of violence committed by members of white power bands, but when it comes to judging lyrical content as hateful, the argument of artistic expression often enters into the debate. How long will it take for white nationalists or their sympathizers to point to violent or hateful rap lyrics as examples of hate speech?
If you question whether this is censorship or inciting hate and violence, read some of the lyrics of the bands who were removed. We remind you these are offensive. If you need to counter these lyrics, listen to Please Kill Me’s 16 ANTI-FASCIST & DYSTOPIAN SONGS THAT REMIND US WE’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE before and after reading below.
“Jigrun” – Bully Boys
“We’re going on the town tonight / Hit and run / Let’s have some fun / We’ve got jigaboos on the run / And they fear the setting sun.”
“White Blood” – Define Hate
“Seems like the good times are far in the past/We want to see a change for the white man at last/ They’re crossing all our borders tryin’ to claim our land/BACK OFF NIGGER ‘CAUSE WE’RE TAKING A STAND”
“Taking a Stand” – Bulldog Breed
“We’re taking it back
We’re on the attack,
Our way of life we will defend,
We’re taking it back
We’re on the attack.
It’s our way of life ’til the end.
These twisted freaks, these twisted gays,
A twisted liife, these rent boy ways,
Political correct as well,
I’m gonna send this scum to hell.”
Wondering what you can do about White Supremacist music?
It’s not easy to report music that violates streaming website’s policies, but here are some lines of communication.
Spotify: You can report a Spotify playlist through these instructions, but cannot report a song or band in the same manner.
SoundCloud: SoundCloud gives instructions on blocking and lets you file a complaint ticket.
iTunes: A quick search to do the same with iTunes led to no results, so users are left reporting issues through the Apple contact form.
Amazon: Amazon also prohibits “Products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views,” but they make reporting difficult. Users can complete a long contact form to state their concerns.