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Spotify responds to Martina McBride: ‘We agree it’s unacceptable’


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We reported yesterday on the latest criticism of Spotify from country artist Martina McBride, including her complaint that while the company had met with her privately to talk about its playlist-creation recommendation algorithm, it hadn’t made a public statement. Within hours, Spotify… made a public statement, essentially holding up its hands to admit the problem. “We were very disappointed to hear about Martina’s experience on the platform. We agree that it’s unacceptable and we’re working to address it,” said global head of artist and label marketing Marian Dicus. “As an industry, we recognise we have a lot of work to do to ensure gender parity and Spotify is working hard to drive change on our own platform and through Spotify campaigns such as Equalizer and EQL.” As we noted yesterday, addressing this issue – an algorithm that suggested tracks by 135 male artists when McBride was creating a ‘country music’ playlist before suggesting one by a woman – is more complicated than just flicking a switch. Understanding what happened (the influence of human listening behaviour included) and then testing how to nudge the system in a different direction will be a thoughtful process, rather than a kneejerk one. But as we said: it’s good that McBride went public with the issue, and it’s good that Spotify is responding constructively.

Stuart Dredge

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