Following a call to action from the music industry
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Major streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music have pledged their support for Blackout Tuesday (also called “Black Out Tuesday”) with special playlists, moments of silence, and social media blackouts. The campaign is aimed at protesting police violence and racism as well as honoring George Floyd, whose death at the hands of police has sparked universal outcry and demonstrations in US cities and around the world.
Spotify will add an 8 minute and 46-second moment of silence to select playlists and podcasts on the platform. The length of the moment of silence is equal to the amount of time former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd down by the neck with his knee, resulting in Floyd’s death.
“A DAY OF COLLECTIVE DISCONNECT FROM WORK MEANT TO HELP PEOPLE REFLECT AND COME TOGETHER IN SUPPORT OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY”
Apple Music’s regular Beats 1 radio programming has been cancelled 9to5Mac reports, and it is instead promoting a streaming station that celebrates music produced by black artists. Its regular recommendation and radio tabs are showing a single playlist called “For Us, By Us.” There’s also a full page takeover that’s being shown to some users, featuring a message of support for the protest movement. However, users can still access their music libraries and Apple Music catalog as normal.
Amazon Music also tweeted in support of the movement, adding that it will be pausing all social media for the day. YouTube Music issued a tweet of support from its official account. YouTube previously pledged to donate $1 million to the Center for Policing Equity.
The action is part of a broader movement in the music industry. A number of record labels are participating in Black Out Tuesday following a call to action from Atlanta Records marketing chief Jamila Thomas and former Atlantic employee Brianna Agyeman that started with the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused. ViacomCBS is also participating in a blackout lasting 8 minutes and 46 seconds across its network and cable channels starting 5PM ET on Monday.
“June 2nd is Black Out Tuesday, a day of collective disconnect from work meant to help people reflect and come together in support of the Black community. On this day — and every day — Spotify will support our employees, friends, partners, artists, and creators in the fight against racism, injustice, and inequity,” Spotify wrote in a blog post. “We are using the power of our platform to stand with Black creators, amplify their voices, and accelerate meaningful conversation and long-needed change. As a result, you’ll notice some changes on Spotify starting at 12:01 AM on Tuesday.”
As well as pausing all social media publication, Spotify said it would replace headline podcast and playlist images and logos with a blacked out image, and more prominently promote black artists and podcasters with specially curated playlists and its existing Black History is Now hub. The company is also matching financial donations made by employees to organizations fighting racism and injustice.