Citing a new policy which bars playing “hate music,” streaming giant Spotify has decided to stop promoting R. Kelly’s music. A spokesman for the service told NPR that not only will they cease marketing activities of artists whose music contains offensive content, they will also consider the behavior of the artist.
As a response to the demands of the Me Too, Times Up, and Mute R Kelly social media campaigns, Spotify will continue to carry R. Kelly’s catalog but will not include it in their curated playlists. Spotify told the news outlet that they will not censor artists, however, they have taken the reins of control over how the artists that they feature reflect on their brand.
The company has assembled an advisory board who will act as a watchdog for creatives whose works do not meet their new guidelines. Color Of Change, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, Showing Up for Racial Justice, GLAAD, Muslim Advocates, and the International Network Against Cyber Hate make up the board and will support Spotify in the execution of the new initiative.
“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,” Spotify’s statement reads. “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.”
R. Kelly faces mounting charges of sexual misconduct but has not been convicted of any crime. His management issued a statement condemning the action, calling it premature. They assert that the music service is bowing to the pressures of social media instead of providing a service to their subscribers.
“Spotify has the right to promote whatever music it chooses and in this case, its actions are without merit,” the statement from R. Kelly’s management reads. “It is acting based on false and unproven allegations. It is bowing to social-media fads and picking sides in a fame-seeking dispute over matters that have nothing to do with serving customers.”
Following suit, The Verge reported that Apple Music and Pandora have also pulled the accomplished singer/songwriter/producer’s music from its curated playlists. R. Kelly is not the only artist affected by the streaming industry’s new initiatives. Rapper XXXTentacion faces charges of aggravated battery of a pregnant woman as well as witness tampering in Florida. His legal trouble has resulted in having his music pulled from Spotify’s curated lists as well.
Spotify has also removed other talents from its curated lists over the last several months due to allegations of misconduct, including comedian Louis C.K. and entertainment legend Bill Cosby, Variety reported. The firm’s focus going forward is on reducing the exposure of artists whose music/works contain hateful content and whose behavior and/or image is deemed inappropriate.