Spotify has become one of the most popular music streaming services, with millions of users listening to their favorite artists and discovering new music every day.
As you navigate the platform, you may have noticed a small “E” icon next to some songs or albums. So what does this tiny letter signify?
Understanding Spotify’s Explicit Content Tag
The “E” stands for “explicit” on Spotify. It indicates that the track or album contains explicit content such as profanity, references to violence, sex, or drug use that may be offensive to some listeners.
Spotify tags this type of content so users can make informed decisions about what they listen to. The explicit tag also helps parents screen songs for their children if they enable Spotify’s “Restrict Explicit Content” setting.
How Spotify Determines What Content Gets Tagged?
Spotify does not manually tag content. Instead, the platform relies on metadata provided by music labels and distributors to determine what gets marked explicitly.
Labels are responsible for appropriately tagging their releases to reflect graphic content. They submit this info to distributors when adding songs to stores and streaming platforms.
However, errors can occur where clean versions are mislabeled or explicit tracks get missed. Spotify users can report incorrect tags to help improve things in these cases.
What Gets Defined as Explicit and Why?
Spotify’s explicit filter casts a wide net for potentially objectionable material. Songs with even a single profanity can sometimes get the designation. Topics like violence and sex also frequently warrant the tag.
The policy helps accommodate regional sensibilities and age demographics across Spotify’s broad listener base. What seems explicit in one culture or to young users may differ elsewhere. Tags let individual listeners filter as they see fit.
Few artists want their songs restricted, though, so many aim for “clean” versions where possible to maximize streams. Edits like muted words help avoid limiting potential audiences.
Where You Can See Explicit Tags
The small “E” appears in multiple locations throughout Spotify apps and interfaces.
On mobile and desktop apps, it shows up:
- Next to song and album titles in playlists and search results
- On album pages
- Within playlist details and song queues
- When selecting content with Google Chromecast
Explicit badges are also displayed across various Spotify-supported devices like smart speakers and gaming consoles.
How to Filter Explicit Content?
If you prefer not to encounter explicit songs while browsing or listening, Spotify has options to limit this material.
On the desktop, toggle the setting under Preferences > Restrict Explicit Content. In mobile apps, you can find it via Settings > Explicit Content.
Enabling restrictions greys out explicit music and requires extra confirmation to play those tracks. Disabling the filter makes all content accessible.
Parents also get additional controls with Spotify Kids to block age-inappropriate songs completely.
What About Podcasts and Other Content?
For now, Spotify’s explicit filters only apply to music. However many have called for expanded restrictions as the platform continues evolving into a broader audio medium with podcasts.
In podcasts particularly, uncensored interviews and open conversations mean plenty of potentially objectionable content makes its way onto Spotify untouched.
Introducing tagging here seems logical but no official plans exist yet. Time will tell if the E badge eventually marks more than just albums and songs.
Seeing “Clean” Versions
Sometimes you may notice a small “C” next to tracks. This indicates a “clean” or edited version exists for that song. Switching to this alternative could give you similar listening enjoyment without graphic elements.
Access clean versions (when available) through the track menu. Tap the three dots next to any song, then select “show credits” to see all versions.
Why Edited Music Isn’t Always Available?
Not every explicit song receives a secondary clean edit, unfortunately. Reasons for this can vary:
- Creating radio-friendly cuts takes effort and resources that some artists lack.
- Labels must license and distribute cleaned versions separately. This process gets skipped in some cases.
- Live albums and older content less frequently get updated with modern edits.
- An alternate version may exist but the label hasn’t updated metadata across all platforms equally.
- In rare cases, removing problematic language compromises artistic integrity in musicians’ views.
The good news is musical consumption keeps shifting toward streaming. Services like Spotify++ offer incentives for labels to properly tag and supply edited tracks to maximize audiences. So clean song options should continue expanding.
Other Ways to Avoid Explicit Recordings
If toggling restrictions and finding censored tracks still leaves too much mature content, a few other tricks can help limit exposure:
- Follow clean artists exclusively: Find singers or bands known for family-friendly music and tailor your library around them.
- Create and follow clean playlists: Plenty of users assemble collections centered on radio-safe hits perfect for all ages.
- Opt for radio stations: Playlists based around genres or decades tend to pick up fewer explicit cuts versus individual artists or albums.
- Enable Audio Safety mode: This newish mobile setting further screens content using AI for maximum filtering.
- Use Spotify Kids: The specialized app completely restricts inappropriate content and replaces it with kid-safe music, singalongs, and more.
Spotify’s small “E” tag indicates a track contains explicit content like profanity, sexual references, violence, or drug use. It helps listeners avoid material they may find offensive while allowing them to toggle restrictions to fit personal preferences. Understanding what’s defined as explicit and where you’ll encounter warnings enables fully customizable musical enjoyment.
While editing songs or releasing clean versions takes effort for artists initially, doing so allows them to expand audiences. Similarly, fans get broader listening possibilities when preferring content filters.
So explicit badges, while limiting in some respects, ultimately promote more inclusive musical enjoyment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can Spotify remove the explicit tag if a song gets mislabeled?
Unfortunately no. Spotify cannot directly edit a track’s metadata. You would need to contact the label or distributor responsible to have them correct the error at the source where stores and streaming platforms source their data.
If my region doesn’t have clear labeling laws, will songs still get tagged?
Yes! Spotify enforces consistent global standards for tagging explicit content regardless of regional rating rules or practices. Expect songs with graphic material to display warnings universally across all markets.
Can I share songs marked explicitly through features like Spotify Social or with friends?
You can generate Spotify Links for explicit tracks to share song previews. However, anyone you send those links to would need to have their content filter disabled if they wish to play the full uncensored recordings.
Are podcasts and other non-music formats starting to see restrictions too?
Not yet. But given concerns over graphic podcast content lately, many industry experts predict centralized parental controls coming sooner rather than later. For now, music remains the only media with maturity warnings on Spotify though.
If I “like” a song, will that track show up as explicit when others view my public playlists?
Yes, it will. Your public likes to showcase the songs exactly as they exist under their original titles, tags, and metadata. So if you thumbs up an explicit track, anyone seeing that song through your profile would notice the “E” marker since restrictions remain tied to the actual audio.