Why Does Spotify Censor Curse Words? (Explained)

Spotify does not censor music in any way. If you want a demonstration, search for your favorite curse word on Spotify. Any music that has been censored was submitted like that.

I understand your concern. Often, we want to listen to a song just the way it is without filters. If you notice a song on Spotify with censored curse words, here are a few reasons why.

1. You are listening to the clean version of the song

Explicit songs are tagged by Spotify. Look out for EXPLICIT or E tags on any releases. If the song you are listening to is being censored, you might be listening to the clean version.

Songs and albums are often submitted to Spotify in two forms: the explicit version, and the clean (censored) version. Consequently, Spotify will consider them to be identical.

For example, two versions of the song will be collected together. One of them will be visible, but the other one can be revealed by clicking the duplicate arrow that you see to the right of the title.

But why have two versions of the same song?

Spotify aims to become a platform where artists can express themselves. However, they also want to make the platform as safe as possible for most ages.

This is the reason why Spotify includes explicit content because they offer music how the artist intends it to be heard. The compromise is that they serve a clean version and an explicit version.

Anyone who wishes to listen to the cuss words of a song can listen to the explicit version. On the other hand, anyone who wants to avoid swear words can listen to the clean version.

Important: If you want your kids to stay safe, download Spotify Kids. Spotify can’t tag all explicit content because it depends on the information they get from rightsholders.

2. The explicit version has been removed from Spotify

Another reason could be that the artist has removed the explicit version from Spotify, leaving only the clean version available on the platform. The artist chooses this, not Spotify.

For example, Ariana Grande has plenty of explicit songs but she is completely against the use of the “n-word” which is why the explicit version of “Let Me Love You” is not available.

If you have been listening to an explicit song full of curse words but it has been censored recently, the artist may have removed the explicit version from the Spotify platform.

3. The artist has decided to change the song

Spotify always serves music based on how the artist and their music label intended to do. If the music is censored, the artist or their music label may have decided to change it on Spotify.

For example, a song I’ve been listening to for a few years has recently been censored. Some of the words in the lyrics have been turned into jumbled nonsense.

Some of the censored words include “drugs” and “weed”. However, there are still plenty of swear words in the song that are not censored. 

Mind you, the song is marked “explicit”. This means that the artist or record label has decided to change how the song is played on the Spotify platform. Spotify did not change it, the artist did.

4. The explicit filter is turned on

Explicit songs filled with swear words are not available if the explicit filter is turned on. You may have toggled a setting inside the Spotify app to exclude explicit content with a single switch.

Make sure you allow explicit content from Settings.

When explicit content is disabled, explicit content (songs, titles, and album art) is still visible in search results and playlists, but they are grayed out so a person cannot click on them.

Because the explicit version is locked, you are served the clean version of the song. Once you disable this setting, the explicit version of every song should be available for listening.

Related articles:

Scroll to Top