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Reddit’s Biggest Communities In Music And Beyond Are Going Dark To Protest A Controversial Policy Change

Reddit was founded in 2005, and since then, the social news and discussion website has become a pillar of the internet. It’s one of the world’s most-visited websites and has been a valuable resource for people interested in pretty much any topic the world has to offer. The platform is well known for its AMAs (“Ask Me Anything”), a Q&A format in which an expert, celebrity, or otherwise notable person answers user-submitted questions.

Specifically in regards to music, we’ve gotten some great, insightful, and fun AMAs from people like Paul McCartney, Lucy Dacus, Carly Rae Jepsen, Snoop Dogg, and many, many more. Beyond that, Reddit also has a number of genre-specific or artist-specific communities that are home to a lot of valuable fan discussion.

Now, though, there’s some drama happening on the platform and the site’s biggest communities, in music and beyond, are getting involved.

It all started a few days ago, with a post from the developer of Apollo, a popular third-party mobile app used to access Reddit, in the Apollo subreddit. The post currently has over 154,000 upvotes (which is a lot) and is titled, “Had a call with Reddit to discuss pricing. Bad news for third-party apps, their announced pricing is close to Twitter’s pricing, and Apollo would have to pay Reddit $20 million per year to keep running as-is.” The post goes into greater detail and notes that Apollo would likely cease to exist under this model, which would be prohibitively expensive. Developers of other third-party Reddit apps have shared similar posts.

Since then, there has been a movement to protest this. A June 2 post from the newly formed r/Save3rdPartyApps subreddit is leading the charge and it does a great job at summarizing the situation. It states:

“A recent Reddit policy change threatens to kill many beloved third-party mobile apps, making a great many quality-of-life features not seen in the official mobile app permanently inaccessible to users.

On May 31, 2023, Reddit announced they were raising the price to make calls to their API from being free to a level that will kill every third party app on Reddit, from Apollo to Reddit is Fun to Narwhal to BaconReader.

Even if you’re not a mobile user and don’t use any of those apps, this is a step toward killing other ways of customizing Reddit, such as Reddit Enhancement Suite or the use of the desktop interface .

This isn’t only a problem on the user level: many subreddit moderators depend on tools only available outside the official app to keep their communities on-topic and spam-free.”

The post then lays out a plan for a protest: “On June 12th, many subreddits will be going dark to protest this policy. Some will return after 48 hours: others will go away permanently unless the issue is adequately addressed, since many moderators aren’t able to put in the work they do with the poor tools available through the official app. This isn’t something any of us do lightly: we do what we do because we love Reddit, and we truly believe this change will make it impossible to keep doing what we love. The two-day blackout isn’t the goal, and it isn’t the end. Should things reach the 14th with no sign of Reddit choosing to fix what they’ve broken, we’ll use the community and buzz we’ve built between then and now as a tool for further action.”

Since this post, a number of major subreddits have either shared similar posts or linked to that one, to declare that they too will be participating in the protest. That includes r/Music, which has over 32 million members and is the fifth-largest community on all of Reddit. Notable genre-specific communities like r/hiphopheads and r/indieheads, which have around 2.5 million members each, have also vowed to join the protest.

A list of other significant subreddits getting involved in the protest, some of which have tens of millions of members, can be found here.