You Can Still Listen to Your Favourite R. Kelly Tracks On Spotify But You Have To Actively Seek Them Out And Choose To Be Gross First

Spotify’s new “Hate Content and Hateful Content” policy means certain artists will be removed from all playlists and mixes but not from the platform itself.

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.

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.

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.

Spotify And Real-Life Angel Janelle Monáe Are Working Together To Ensure Black History Month Lasts All Year Round

Each month, a different artist will jump into the driver’s seat, curating the playlists and the ongoing cultural conversation for that period.

Spotify has asked the one and only Janelle Monáe to curate the first installment of their all-new Black History Is Happening Now campaign, which will recognise the creatives, artists, and organisations that are celebrating diversity in music.

Who better to take the helm and steer the ship in the right direction than Janelle – who is clearly more than enthused and qualified to take on the job.

“I am thrilled to be teaming up with Spotify to help kick off an important new initiative celebrating black history and culture through Black History is Happening Now. I’ve always been excited and inspired to try to redefine how we’re seen. It’s important to me to celebrate black history year round and with Spotify’s commitment to honouring the black community all year long and showcasing artists and organisations who are dedicated to imparting change.”


Already, Janelle has curated content for the music-streaming platform including an Afrofuturism documentary she made in collaboration with writer and director, Ytasha L. Womack.

In light of the the completely justifiable and ongoing upset around Black History Month falling on the shortest month of the year (February is the cruellest month, sorry April), this is the first of many steps we should all be taking when it comes to acknowledging, celebrating, and educating others around diversity within the industry and beyond.

By providing these powerful and influential voices with a strong platform that allows them to be heard across another medium, it opens the door to ongoing education around movements like Black Lives Matter, while also continuing conversations around support, visibility, and recognition of women and men of colour who also belong to the LGBTIQ community.

While many people of colour are reminded each day that race and equality still don’t go hand in hand when it comes to anyone that isn’t white – campaigns like the one Spotify has created will hopefully encourage more people to be aware of this exact issue, and foster continued development of African, as well as African-American culture as we move into a future that needs to be about equal rights for everyone.

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