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Spotify Removes R.Kelly From Its Playlists & Will Cease Promoting His Music on Their Platform


#MuteRKelly had gotten another victory as Spotify announced today that it will be removing R. Kelly’s music from their playlists.

According to a Billboard exclusive, under the terms of a new public hate content and hateful conduct policy, Spotify is putting into effect, the company will no longer promote the R&B singer’s music in any way.

“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.”

To be clear R. Kelly’s music will still be on Spotify, but Spotify is trying to take responsibility for what they promote, which is a good thing. Not to mention if they did remove R. Kelly’s music completely, it would call into question all the artists who have also used hate-speech or are trash but have not been pulled off yet.

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

Rapper XXXTentacion is the only other artist to be penalized under these new terms.

A rep for XXXTentacion reached out to Billboard, saying, “I don’t have a comment, just a question. Will Spotify remove all [these] artists from playlists?” The list provided included the likes of Gene Simmons from KISS, David Bowie, James Brown, Seal, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys, Real Estate, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, 6ix9ine, Nelly, Miguel, Fabolous and Dr. Dre, among others, with various allegations of sexual or domestic assault attached to each name.

Spotify says that it worked with multiple anti-hate groups including The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, Color Of Change, and GLAAD, in order to come up with their new policy.

“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,” the policy reads. “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.”

All of this is good news and I hope that Spotify will make efforts to make sure this policy is done across all genres of music that is promoted on its site. It is not a good look that only R. Kelly and  XXXTentacion have gotten removed when there are plenty of non-black artists who have hate speech, rape allegations and domestic abuse charges in their history. I don’t want Spotify’s efforts to get derailed if it seems as though they are only going after black and rap artists, as the rep for XXXTentaction points out.

(via Billboard, image: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.