Spotify UK retires 'urban' from verbiage

Spotify UK will no longer be using the term “urban” to categorize music, according to UK artist & label partnerships lead for hip hop, rap, grime, drill, R&B, Afrobeat, reggae and dancehall, Safiya Lambie-Knight. Lambie-Knight discussed the verbal shift in a recent interview, stating,

“Moving forward, we won’t be using the word ‘urban’ in the UK anymore. I look after a breadth of what were previously ‘urban’ genres and it will allow us to have broader conversations around creativity and artists. Honestly, I think there are bigger problems that we need to resolve, but we will be talking about music in genres going forward.”

Spotify will substitute “urban,” which, to date, has been used as a non-descript blanket term, with more specific genre names that better accord with the given style of music that they will describe. Spotify UK’s choice to move away from the term follows the GRAMMYs and Republic Records‘ recent decisions to do the same.

Island Records A&R Adele White said Universal is evaluating their usage of the word as well. White stated,

“It’s been used as a PC term for Black people that felt uncomfortable. I think people feel it’s stigmatised. People may feel that urban isn’t given the same respect in the UK or, I don’t know, not treated the same. Maybe we don’t need it as much, but I know it’s important in other territories.”

Featured image: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

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