Streaming algorithms will endlessly serve up tracks, artists, playlists and (now) podcasts based on what we appear to like – based on us playing them a lot, actively pressing to like them or following the artist profile. We can skip them before 30 seconds but that doesn’t always banish unwanted acts from future recommendations. Deezer has added a new “ban” feature that it claims will do exactly that.

Hear a track on Flow or any of Deezer’s recommended mixes that makes you grind your teeth? Press the new “unhappy face emoji” and that track will be immediately zapped by the algorithm – as will the artist performing it. This will only apply to mixes and playlists served up by Deezer and will not affect the acts or tracks in a user’s own curated playlists.

DSPs have been focused on trying to super-serve us more and more of “the music we love”, but we define our taste as much by what we like as what we dislike. Skip data does send out certain messages to the algorithm, but often the same acts – or even the same song, albeit in an “acoustic” or EDM mix – can appear in another algorithmic playlist. Or you might not want to hear that song in that particular listening sessions but might be open to it in a different context so the algorithm doesn’t completely discount this.

Having a hard ban option, without having to wade through a multitude of options to block an artist, is a swift and effective way for the listener to send a very clear message that X, Y and Z are things they actively dislike and do not wish to hear again.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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