Spotify Removes R. Kelly Songs From All Of Its Playlists

May 10, 2018  |  

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In addition to the documentaries about the decades-long allegations of his sexual depravity, the women coming forward, half of his team members quitting and the #MuteRKelly initiative, Spotify, the music streaming service, has decided to remove all of R. Kelly’s songs from their playlists.

Starting today, Spotify users will no longer be able to find Kelly’s music on the platform’s editorial or algorithmic playlists.

The decision to remove the singer’s music is in accordance with Spotify’s public hate content and hateful conduct policy the company recently put into effect.

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

Jonathan Prince, Spotify’s vp/head of content and marketplace policy, also told Billboard, “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. 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.”

Kelly is the first artist Spotify has specifically acknowledged to fall under this new policy. Though others might also be added to the list.

The new policy also includes hateful content. While the company acknowledges that there are different cultural standards about what is considered offensive, they are working with several advocacy groups, including The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, Color Of Change, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), GLAAD, Muslim Advocates and the International Network Against Cyber Hate to determine their definition of hate content.

The policy states: “Hate content is content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability. When we are alerted to content that violates our policy, we may remove it (in consultation with rights holders) or refrain from promoting or manually programming it on our service.”

With 35 million songs on its service, the company acknowledges that it cannot police everything. So instead, they’re implementing a three-pronged reporting system for hate content or hateful conduct.

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