If you’re a fan of streaming music, personalized playlists, and mixes made “just for you,” you’ve no doubt run into some boring, bad and even downright offensive songs you’d rather not hear again. And if you’re familiar with the news surrounding today’s most popular artists, you probably have a running list of artists who you’d rather never hear again—no matter how good their newest single may be—because of their misogyny, or racism, or other problematic behavior.
While you can’t hit fast-forward on your car radio, you can alter how your streaming service recommends songs to you and force it to never again play the tracks or artists you want out of your life—the extent of that control depends, though, on which streaming service you choose. Here’s how each major streaming service handles blocking and filtering artists from reaching your ears.
Amazon Music, the default music service on its Echo devices, offers you both customized playlists and radio stations based on an artist or song you pick. It doesn’t let you filter or block artists from said playlists or stations, but you can upvote or downvote songs in radio stations to better personalize your listening experience.
You can, however, block songs with explicit language in them by hitting the three-dot menu icon in the “My Music” tab and enabling the “Block Explicit Songs” option. Amazon did not respond to TIME’s inquiry about blocking or filtering artists any further.
Tidal, known for its catalog of high-bitrate music (for better audio quality) and Beyoncé’s visual albums, makes it relatively easy to block artists or even particular songs, and gives you an easy way to manage your list of expunged musicians once you’ve made one.
While you can’t block an artist directly from their artist page, you can block them (or a particular song) from their Artist or Track radio playlists, or from your “My Mix” playlist. If you know exactly who you want to cull from your listening experience, the quickest way to get it done is to visit the artist’s profile anyway, hit the radio button next to the artist name, tap one of their songs, and hit the block button at the bottom of the Now Playing screen.
Should you change your mind, you can hit the Settings icon in your “My Collection” tab, then scroll down to view and unblock all your selected artists and songs.
Apple Music, the company’s streaming-service alternative to its iTunes Store, features both Apple-curated playlists and custom radio stations that pick songs based on your listening history. But Apple Music won’t let you block an artist or filter their songs out of playlists; it does, however, enable you to adjust the app’s recommendation system based on how you rate songs.
You can vote to “love” or “dislike” songs in Apple Music, which it takes into account when building playlists based on your listening history. Apple did not respond to TIME’s inquiry about blocking or filtering artists any further.
Of all the streaming services we looked at, Spotify has the most straightforward method of blocking artists from appearing on playlists and radio stations. While you can’t block specific songs, you can block an artist’s work by visiting their profile, hitting the three-dot menu icon, and selecting “Don’t play this artist.” After that, you won’t encounter them in any playlists or radio stations.
Pandora’s personalized radio stations are perfect for discovering new artists and songs for your socially distant summer fun. But when it comes to dismissing artists you no longer want to hear, you only have one option: downvote them. That won’t entirely block the artist (or even that specific track), but it will reduce how often the artist appears in your radio stations.
In short, if you’re using Pandora, be sure to give the artist you want to avoid a thumbs down rating whenever possible to decrease the likelihood they pop up again in your stations.
YouTube Music, parent company Alphabet’s replacement for its Google Play Music service (scheduled to shut down completely this December), doesn’t offer much in terms of artist control. Currently, YouTube Music does not allow users to filter or block artists.
- What a Photographer Saw in the West Bank
- Accenture’s Chief AI Officer on Why This Is a Defining Moment
- Inside COP28's Big 'Experiment'
- U.S. Doctors Can't Be Silent About Gaza: Column
- The Movie Wives Would Like a Word
- The 100 Must-Read Books of 2023
- The Top 100 Photos of 2023
- Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time