Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Spotify will add an 8 minute and 46-second moment of silence to select playlists and podcasts on the platform to honor George Floyd. 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 and sparking universal outcry and demonstrations in US cities and around the world.
Spotify’s action is part of a broader movement in the music industry called Blackout Tuesday designed to protest police violence and racism. A number of record labels are participating following a call to action from Atlanta Records marketing chief Jamila Thomas and former Atlantic employee Brianna Agyemang 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,” the company writes 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.”
In addition to the moment of silence, Spotify says it will pause all social media publication, 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.