Block Musicians on Spotify: Get Your Hands on the Long-Awaited Feature

This has been a long time coming.

Seemingly without an announcement, Spotify now lets users completely remove artists from their daily music stream thanks to its newly introduced “Don’t play this artist” feature. First spotted Monday by iOS app users, the option works just like blocking your preachy high school acquaintance on Facebook by letting users block specific musicians hear from algorithmically generated playlists like Discover.

Once activated, songs by the muted artists won’t play on users’ library, playlists, or radio stations, however, this feature won’t yet work for songs that the musician is featured on. Spotify has deliberated rolling out a blacklist feature since 2017 in response to backlash from users who felt like they were unwillingly supporting artists they found problematic. The music streaming service removed songs by R. Kelly and XXXTentacion in May of last year as a part of its “Hate Content and Hateful Conduct Policy,” but reversed the changes after many users claimed it was act of censorship.

The mute feature seems to be a middle ground between banning artists from the platform entirely and appearing to help enrich musicians accused of sexual violence and abuse. You can check out how the feature shows up for iPhone users in the below screen-grab shared with Inverse by a longtime Spotify subscriber.

spotify mute feature
The mute feature appears directly below the "Follow" option on iOS devices.

Only iPhone and iPad users currently have the feature for now, and Spotify has not announced if it will be expanding to desktop and non-iOS devices. Spotify did not immediately respond to a request for comment about feature, but we’ll be sure to update if we hear back.

How to Block Musicians on Spotify

Activating the feature is not unlike navigating to someone’s social media account and blocking them. Search for the artist you want to block and open their landing page.

From there, tap the three dots at the top right of the screen to bring up a menu. iOS users should see a new option under “Follow” that reads “Don’t play this artist” next to the ‘no’ symbol. Selecting this will activate the mute feature for the artist and keep them out of your Spotify plays until you toggle it off.

spotify mute option
Once selected this notification will appear on the artist's landing page and their songs will not appear in users' playlists or radio stations.

Does Muting an Artist on Spotify Affect Their Payouts?

At least in theory, yes: Simply not listening to an artist will keep them from earning money on Spotify. In April of last year, musician ArtistLARSEN explained how they earned “around $0.0045 per stream” in a Spotify forum post. That means if a song is listened to 1 million times the artist will net $4,500.

These rates may vary from artist to artist, but as ArtistLARSEN explained at the time that variance is usually accounted for by fees, either a distribution fee upfront or through a third-party distributor. Artists who aren’t working through a paid distributor would still, presumably, be affected by mass muting from among the service’s 170 million active monthly users.

Media via Kate Haveles, Spotify, Danny Paez