Last week, I asked Spotify why the streaming platform continues to make playlists in response to mass shootings. This morning they got back to me with the following:
People lean on music for hope, encouragement, to grieve, to find community. We see Spotify as a platform for discovery, and we are always trying to facilitate ways for our audience to discover music, culture, and each other. Some ways we’ve done this include bringing artists from different backgrounds together and facilitating the creation of new music (I’m with the banned), supporting communities through weekly playlisting (Feminist Friday), and curating playlists for communities in need (Por Puerto Rico).
We take a collaborative approach to creation and curation with artists and representatives of communities. At times we also work with experts on issues, and may include links in playlist descriptions that help fans learn more, or get involved. We know from our data that people value these playlists and programs, and we’ll continue to make programming choices to support them.
The statement does provide a bit of context for activism-themed playlists that encourage donation on the part of their users (see: the ‘For Puerto Rico’ link to the Hispanic Federation) but it doesn’t quite explain why recent American shootings trigger a need to curate playlists, most without promoting immediate action to help the victims or push for legislative change.
It does, however, provide a bit of clarity to how Spotify views itself in the world. Rather than simply existing as a streaming platform, they see music as a means to contextualize moments in the world, including tragedies. Take that as you will.