Starting today, R. Kelly‘s music will no longer be available via Spotify‘s “editorial or algorithmic playlists,” as part of the platform’s new Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy. His music won’t be found on influential playlists like Discover Weekly, New Music Friday, or RapCaviar — and the company will no longer promote R. Kelly’s music in any way. So, if you really want to hear “I Believe I Can Fly” or “Ignition,” you’ll have to specifically seek out his artist profile.
Spotify tells Billboard in a related statement: “[R. Kelly’s] music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
R. Kelly has made headlines over the past several years for various claims of sexual violence and for running a “sex cult.” Although he has never been charged for these alleged crimes, his reputation has been tarnished and the #MuteRKelly movement is gaining steam.
Rapper XXXTentacion has also been removed from Spotify’s editorial playlists. As of Wednesday, he was featured on RapCaviar, but has since been removed in light of the new Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy. Currently, he faces charges including “aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and witness tampering.”
Spotify’s VP/Head of Content Jonathan Prince weighs in on the decision to remove these artists from featured playlists: “I think that, frankly, all of us have become increasingly aware of the responsibility that we have when we make recommendations about content, and particularly when we’re doing that in a way that may send signals to our audience about what we believe and what we value.”
“We’re going to continue to try to evolve our approach to these things.”
Read Spotify’s entire Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy here.
It’s worth asking though, if these artists are being removed, will someone like Chris Brown be impacted by this? Where will Spotify draw the line?