Spotify shows explicit lyrics despite “clean” versions being played

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Young fans of Olivia Rodrigo, Eminem, and other music celebrities have been shown explicit lyrics on Spotify even when users have blocked explicit music.
Young fans of Olivia Rodrigo, Eminem, and other music celebrities have been shown explicit lyrics on Spotify even when users have blocked explicit music.

Young fans of Olivia Rodrigo, Eminem, and other music celebrities have been shown explicit lyrics on Spotify even when users have blocked explicit music.

Introduction:

Spotify, the world’s leading music streaming service, is facing scrutiny as it continues to display explicit lyrics on screen when users play “clean” or “radio-friendly” versions of songs. 

The issue, identified by the BBC, affects numerous popular tracks by artists like Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Drake, and Lil Nas X. Spotify, aware of the problem, is reportedly working on a fix.

The Problem and Its Scope:

Spotify often shows a song’s original explicit lyrics on screen, even when users choose the clean version. This issue was identified in dozens of major songs, raising concerns about the display of racial slurs and explicit language. 

The BBC found that over a third of songs in Spotify’s UK top 50 chart contain explicit lyrics, and half of those display explicit content on screen when the clean version is played.

Background on Spotify’s Explicit Content System:

Spotify implemented a system in 2018 to address explicit content, marking songs with an ‘E’ to indicate explicit lyrics. Users can choose to block explicit content in their settings, with clean versions offered as an alternative. 

However, the lyrics in Spotify’s database for many clean versions mirror the explicit originals, causing the display of explicit words when users view the lyrics.

High-Profile Tracks Affected:

The issue extends to high-profile tracks, including those featured in children’s film soundtracks or on child-friendly playlists. Some of the affected songs include Dua Lipa’s “IDGAF,” Olivia Rodrigo’s “Bad Idea Right?,” The Weeknd’s “Starboy,” Drake’s “Nice for What,” and Kanye West’s “Gold Digger.”

Spotify’s Response:

Spotify declined to comment officially but is reportedly aware of the problem and actively working on a solution. 

In response to the BBC’s findings, Spotify appeared to remove lyrics for a small number of songs.

Additional Discovery on Desktop/Laptop Access:

The BBC found that on desktops or laptops, users can still read the lyrics of explicit versions even when the tracks are blocked, simply by clicking on the track names from a search or artist profile page.

Conclusion:

As Spotify grapples with the challenge of displaying explicit lyrics despite users opting for clean versions, the incident highlights the complexity of managing explicit content in music streaming platforms. 

Users, particularly those seeking a family-friendly experience, may be concerned about the potential exposure to explicit language despite their efforts to select clean versions. 

The ongoing attention to this issue underscores the importance of refining content control systems in the ever-evolving landscape of digital music platforms.

Gary Monroe

Gary Monroe is a seasoned contributor to the Los Angeles Business Magazine, where he offers insightful analysis on local business trends and economic developments. With a focus on Los Angeles' dynamic commercial landscape, Gary's articles provide valuable perspectives for entrepreneurs and business professionals in the city.

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