Spotify is the first streaming service to remove R. Kelly’s music from its official playlists, saying both Kelz and rapper XXXTentacion violate the company’s new public hate content and hateful conduct policy. Kelly has been accused of sexual misconduct on several occasions.
“We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly,” Spotify told Billboard. “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.”
Although many support Spotify’s decision, Kelly’s removal from the popular platform has led fans of the Pied Piper to question the new policy because many artists have had controversial personal lives yet their music continues to be added and remains on Spotify’s popular playlists.
The Fader reached out to Spotify to address the matter, asking if artists such as Chris Brown, Dr. Dre, Kodak Black, Famous Dex, Rich the Kid, NBA YoungBoy and 6ix9ine will be impacted by the new policy as well. All of the aforementioned artists have either been accused or convicted of various levels of sexual misconduct or abuse against women.
A spokesperson for the brand responded, calling it a “complicated process.”
“As you can imagine, this is a complicated process with room for debate and disagreement, so we can’t get into an artist by artist discussion. In general, we work with our partners and try to make decisions on a case-by-case basis.”
The spokesperson added that there is no “list” of artists to whom this new rule would apply.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.