Spotify Has Removed R. Kelly From Its Playlists

Culture


With the sexual abuse allegations against R. Kelly escalating, Spotify has announced that it is removing the singer’s music from all editorial or algorithmic playlists, Billboard reports. The move comes as part of a new public hate content and hateful conduct policy in which states that Spotify believes “in openness, diversity, tolerance and respect, and we want to promote those values through music and the creative arts,” as the policy reads.

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“We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly,” Spotify told Billboard in a statement. “His 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.”

This means users will no longer come across Kelly’s music in RapCaviar, Discover Weekly, New Music Friday, or its Your Daily Mix section.

“When we look at promotion, we look at issues around hateful conduct, where you have an artist or another creator who has done something off-platform that is so particularly out of line with our values, egregious, in a way that it becomes something that we don’t want to associate ourselves with,” Spotify’s head of content and marketplace technology Jonathan Prince told Billboard. “So we’ve decided that in some circumstances, we may choose to not work with that artist or their content in the same way—to not program it, to not playlist it, to not do artist marketing campaigns with that artist.”

Though Kelly has not been convicted of a crime, it’s a move that comes in response to the #MuteRKelly movement and mounting allegations against the artist. The singer has consistently denied the allegations and is still signed by RCA.

This policy also extends to XXXTentacion, who appeared on the Rap Caviar playlist yesterday but not today. The rapper “is facing charges in Florida that include aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and witness tampering, was also removed from playlists as of Thursday,” according to the New York Times.

These decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, Spotify tells the New York Times, which doesn’t immediately make clear what could happen to other artists with similar or worse allegations.



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