Spotify Is Rethinking Its Policy of Removing Alleged Abusers From Playlists


If you were thinking that Spotify’s new “hate content and hateful conduct policy”—which was faulty to begin with—would stop other alleged abusers’ music from being promoted, think again.

Only R. Kelly and rapper XXXTentacion (who was charged with battery of a pregnant woman) were initially singled out as part of the policy, which involved removing artists from promoted playlists because Spotify wanted the company’s editorial decisions to “reflect [its] values.” Predictably, both Kelly and XXXTentacion’s management responded to the playlist ban by asking if Spotify would be removing the music of other abusive artists (XXXT’s publicist name-dropped Gene Simmons and Michael Jackson, among others), and it wasn’t a bad point to make. How would this policy work if so much music has a misogynistic, abusive history behind it?

Now Spotify is reportedly rethinking the guidelines, Bloomberg reports:

The music-streaming giant has told artists, managers and record-label executives that it will eventually restore songs by XXXTentacion to playlists, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The company’s top executives are talking to the music industry and civil-rights activists about how and when to adjust its rules in a manner suitable to both sides.

After Spotify removed one of XXXTentacion’s songs from its popular RapCaviar playlist, the track’s streams dropped 17 percent per day in the US, which Billboard reported “could cost the rapper as much as $60,000 in revenue in a year.” The company’s head of artist relations, Troy Carter, also reportedly threatened to leave after the announcement. According to Bloomberg’s sources, no final plans have been made, and there are no plans to put R. Kelly’s music back on playlists (though his placement there doesn’t seem to matter, considering that people have reportedly been streaming his music more after the policy.)

It’s clear that Spotify did not think any of this through.

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