Spotify have once again proven that they’re one of the most forward-thinking organisations in the music industry by removing R. Kelly’s music from their playlists.
As part of their new “hate content and hateful conduct” policy, which censors work that promotes violence among marginalised groups and takes into account the personal history of individuals, the company also removed the tunes of rapper XXXTentacion.
Spotify explained their position in a new statement.
“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.”
Spotify’s decision to remove all R. Kelly songs from their mixes and playlists comes off the back of the sexual misconduct claims that have followed the performer for a number of decades.
The decision also comes just weeks after Time’s Up created their #MuteRKelly campaign, which has called on his label and all those who support him to stop promoting his music.
This decisive action by a large music streaming platform could be the first signs that the #metoo movement is finally starting to pick up speed within the music industry, and while it’s disheartening that they’re the only company currently taking this stance, there’s hope that they will be joined by a number of other outlets and organisations in the near future.
— TIME'S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) May 10, 2018
While there’s been plenty of support for the move, Spotify have come under fire from a number of individuals within the music industry who claim the decision to remove the songs was wrong and a case of censorship gone mad.
Spotify is wrong for what there doing to artist like R Kelly and xxxtentacion. There not even convicted of any thing.
— 50cent (@50cent) May 10, 2018
But it’s important to remember Spotify hasn’t removed the tunes completely – they’ve just made a decision to not actively promote these particular artists.
Spotify’s decision brings up a number of questions that the industry was going to have to face eventually.
As a company, where do you draw the line? How do you decide which artist or band gets a free pass and which individuals or groups do not?
According to The New York Times, Spotify has decided that their decision to stop promoting certain artists will be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with expert organisations including the Anti-Defamation League, Color of Change, GLAAD, Muslim Advocates, the International Network Against Cyber Hate and more.
This isn’t the first time Spotify has made a change to their service base on the background and history of performers.
Last year, Spotify announced they were no longer planning on streaming music by bands with white-supremacist messages.
Moving forward, there’s no doubt a number of names will be added to their ‘no play’ list. For now, it’s just a matter of who and when.