Music streaming platform Spotify has blacked-out its channels, playlists and podcasts to stand in solidarity with the black community in the fight against racism and injustice in the US.
This comes as the music industry has organised a 'Black Out Tuesday' on 2 June, to be a day of collective disconnect from work meant to help people reflect and come together in support of the Black community. Spotify said, "On this day—and every day—we will support our employees, friends, partners, artists, and creators in the fight against racism, injustice, and inequity."
Listeners will see a black logo and headline image on more than a dozen of Spotify’s flagship playlists and podcasts, including Today’s Top Hits and RapCaviar, as well as all of its urban and R&B playlists and many podcast covers. Spotify will also pause social media publication as a symbol of solidarity that things cannot remain status quo. Finally, select participating playlists and podcasts will include an 8-minute, 46-second track of silence as a solemn acknowledgement for the length of time that George Floyd was suffocated.
In addition, Spotify also looks to 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 such as 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.
Apart from the special curation of playlists, Spotify will match financial donations made by employees to organisations focused on the fight against racism; injustice; inequity; and driving meaningful change. Following Black Out Tuesday, the music streaming platform also looks to come together as a global community for a facilitated discussion about racial injustice. “Now is not a time for silence, and Spotify stands with the Black community. As our support continues to evolve, we hope that these initial steps and actions will help push these conversations forward, promote deeper allyship, and usher in positive and lasting changes,” a media statement from Spotify read.
Columbia Records, owned by Sony Music Entertainment, shared in an Instagram post that ‘Black Out Tuesday’ is not a day off, but rather a day to reflect and figure out ways to move forward in solidarity. The record label is home to artists such as Beyonce, Adele and John Legend, among others. Other record labels that have joined Black out Tuesday include RCA, Epic, Atlantic, Warner as well as a group of Universal Music Group divisions - Republic, Def Jam, UMG Nashville, Capitol and Island. The music industry has also been using the hashtag #theshowmustbepaused in all blacked-out posts.
Capitol music group has shown further support to the cause through a donation to Color Of Change organisation, a progressive nonprofit civil rights advocacy organization that works to "end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward."
Meanwhile, artists such as Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna, Jay Z, Rihanna and many others have joined in the movement and pledged support to fight racism with the Black community. Yuna said in an Instagram post, she grew up and had the opportunity to work with talented black artists, producers, musicians, dancers and fans, and that it’s her responsibility to come together not only to celebrate the wins, but also be there and stand together during a loss. She also included her record label Yuna Room Records in joining the music industry's 'Black Out Tuesday' stand.
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