Spotify’s moment of silence to honor George Floyd

by Kim Casper

In observance with Blackout Tuesday and a show of solidarity with the Black community following the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police, Spotify has shared that they will add a moment of silence spanning the length of time that Floyd was knee-pinned by his neck – 8 minutes and 46 seconds long to be exact.

Floyd’s death sparked unrest not only across the US but all over the world as cities protested in anger over the nature of Floyd’s passing. Spotify announced on their newsroom that June 2 marks “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.”

Blackout Tuesday is a collective movement planned by the music industry to protest against racial injustice and police brutality. The deaths of Floyd and two other individuals from the black community – Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor – was the impetus for the setting up the movement.

The initiative was first created as a call-to-action from two women in the music industry – Chief Jamilla Thomas, and ex-employee Brianna Ageyemang of Atlantic Records – who sparked the movement via the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused. In a series of posts via their official Twitter handles, several high-profile musicians and record labels have voiced their support for the movement that was scheduled to begin on June 2nd.

Specifically to Spotify, the music streaming app will be adding a silent track into selected playlists and podcasts as a sombre acknowledgement to reflect the duration at which Floyd suffocated. Users will also see a blacked-out logo in place of their usual lime green colours. The change in their brand colours will also be reflected in over a dozen of their playlist images such as Today’s Top Hits and RapCaviar.

Apart from the moment of silence and the aesthetic changes to their platform, Spotify will also temporarily halt all social media postings, feature several uniquely curated playlists from black artists and podcasters, as well as release global ads with particular salience to the issue for their Spotify Free Tier.

Other prominent figures outside of the music industry have also stepped in to help. Boxing’s former five-division world champion, Floyd Mayweather has offered to cover the victim’s funeral expenses, while Steve Biscotti, owner of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens has committed US$1 million to be channelled for social justice reform. Several television networks – notably CBS Sports Network and Nickelodeon – have also joined the music industry in their display of solidarity by going dark across their platforms for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

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