Apple Music shows solidarity for black communities on Blackout Tuesday


Blackout Tuesday 1
This message appears on Apple Music.
Photo: Apple

Apple Music has joined Blackout Tuesday, a music-industry-wide initiative seeking to raise support for Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death, captured on camera by onlookers, sparked protests and riots across the United States.

Doing its part for the day, Apple Music canceled its Beats 1 radio service on June 2. The service also changed its “For You” tab. Both redirect to a “For Us, By Us” stream playing music by black artists. A regular voiceover says that it is designed to “stand in solidarity with black communities everywhere.”

Other parts of Apple Music, such as music libraries and the regular catalog, work as per normal.

Blackout Tuesday: Apple is just one of the voices speaking out

Apple is just one of many companies, organizations, and individuals participating in the protests. On Monday, various ViacomCBS networks — such as BET, CBS Sports Network and Nickelodeon — temporarily went dark for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. This is how long Derek Chauvin, the white police officer charged with killing Floyd, pinned Floyd down with his knee on his neck.

Spotify, meanwhile, is adding a silent track that, again, lasts 8 minutes and 46 seconds. In a blog post, Spotify said that it is a “solemn acknowledgement for the length of time that George Floyd was suffocated.”

Some record labels are refraining from releasing music Tuesday. In some cases, such as with Interscope, this will extend to the entire week. Many artists are also canceling interviews and appearances. Hashtags accompanying Blackout Tuesday include #TheShowMustBePaused and #BlackOutTuesday.

Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook penned a memo to all Apple employees about Floyd’s death. Cook wrote:

“[America’s] painful past is still present today — not only in the form of violence, but in the everyday experience of deeply rooted discrimination. We see it in our criminal justice system, in the disproportionate toll of disease on Black and Brown communities, in the inequalities in neighborhood services and the educations our children receive. While our laws have changed, the reality is that their protections are still not universally applied.”