R. Kelly’s musical catalog was removed from Spotify’s editorial and algorithmic playlists on Thursday, Billboard reports.
Under the streaming service’s new public hate content and hateful conduct policy, music by Kelly will not be promoted and also removed from popular playlists like RapCaviar, Discover Weekly or New Music Friday.
“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.”
Sexual misconduct allegations have followed Kelly for years, with multiple women saying that they were coerced by the “Ignition” singer to perform sexual acts and that he ran a sex cult, claims that he has denied.
A #MuteRKelly campaign was created by the Women of Color (WOC) in the Time’s Up movement to place pressure on services like Apple Music and Spotify to cut ties with Kelly.
“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, told Billboard. “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 isn’t the only artist affected by the company’s new policy. Rapper XXXTentacion new song “SAD” was removed from playlists on the site, according to Billboard.
XXXTentacion has been accused of domestic battery, false imprisonment and witness tampering; he’s currently awaiting trial.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.