Why Does Spotify Allow Hate Speech & Racial Slurs as Playlist Titles?

Why is it possible to create Spotify playlists with hate speech and racial slurs in the title? One artist shares the frustrating process of discovering hate speech on their artist profile—and how long it took Spotify to do anything about it.

One of the neat features of Spotify’s app is that any time your tracks are playlisted, those playlists appear on your artist page. It’s a simple way for artists to see at a glance who is listening and following their music. But it can also present some challenges when Spotify users create playlists using hate speech and racial slurs.

Rapper Wasted Potency reached out to Digital Music News after he became frustrated with how long it took Spotify to do something about playlist name abuse. After repeated emails and attempts to contact Spotify on Twitter, the rapper shared his experience.

The issue started with someone creating user playlists with highly offensive names like ‘TOTAL N***** DEATH VOL. 14,’ which appears under the ‘Discovered On’ header on Spotify’s homepage. “The playlist has been reported by many people countless times and it returns,” Wasted Potency informed DMN. “[The] escalation team hasn’t gotten back to me [and] its been three months. I got one message and that’s it. If I was a label artist I’m sure they would have this taken care of in two seconds.”

The rapper reached out to Spotify Artist support on June 4th and still has yet to receive a response. At the time, Spotify told the rapper: “The case is already being looked into. Please be aware that the inquiry may take some time. You may rest assured that the team behind this report is already aware of it,” the email reads.

Surprisingly, these racial slurs can be entered in a community playlist without the need to circumvent any moderation measures. It makes abusive playlisting a practice that can happen to anyone with a Spotify Artist page—all it takes is one disgruntled fan or troll. It’s of course against Spotify’s terms of service to use such speech and the accounts will likely be banned.

Spotify accounts are free to create and anyone can create a playlist. If Spotify were on top of things, racial slurs and other abusive speech wouldn’t appear in playlists on artists pages. But here we are with an indie rapper dealing with trolling that has taken well over three months to solve. Digital Music News previously covered Spotify’s hosting of Nazi music—which resulted in the music being de-platformed.

Have you experienced this type of playlist abuse on Spotify or another platform? Reach out to Digital Music News and let us know your experience in how the platform handled your issue. You can email me at ashley(a)digitalmusicnews.com.