Multiple artists have been and are actively being removed from streaming services curated playlists and suggestions such as Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora as part of these streaming service’s new policies on Hate Content & Hateful Conduct.
R. Kelly was one of the artists recently removed from these streaming services, having been accused of sexual assault on multiple occasions. Kelly has strongly denied any wrongdoing.
Spotify says what they consider to be “hate content” as:
“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.” – Spotify
But, what about if there is hateful conduct by an artist?
Spotify says they don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but the artist’s or creator’s behavior does affect their (Spotify’s) “editorial decisions”. Or, in other words, what Spotify chooses to program. Spotify says they want these decisions to reflect their values.
When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.” – Spotify
Both artists have been removed from all Spotify-owned and operated playlists and recommendations. Spotify, however, still shows R. Kelly merchandise.
Joan Solsman, a senior reporter at CNET, says in an interview with PBS that while R. Kelly has not even been charged with anything yet, only accused, this is “a very definitive step that [Spotify] will make editorial judgments, about not only the content of music but the conduct of the artists itself and those judgments can have real repercussions on artists’ livelihood.”
Solsman continues to say that Spotify can “make and break artists.”
Another rapper, XXXTentacion, is actively facing charges in the state of Florida for aggravated battery of a pregnant woman.
50 Cent chimed in and says that “Spotify is wrong for what [they’re] doing…”
Spotify is wrong for what there doing to artist like R Kelly and xxxtentacion. There not even convicted of any thing.
— 50cent (@50cent) May 10, 2018
…and he is right. Neither R Kelly nor XXXTentacion have been “convicted of any thing” as of this date.
R. Kelly’s management made a statement saying,
“R. Kelly never has been accused of hate, and the lyrics he writes express love and desire. Mr Kelly for 30 years has sung songs about his love and passion for women.
He is innocent of the false and hurtful accusations in the ongoing smear campaign against him, waged by enemies seeking a payoff.
He never has been convicted of a crime, nor does he have any pending criminal charges against him.
Spotify has the right to promote whatever music it chooses, and in this case its actions are without merit.
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.”
XXXTentacion‘s spokesperson, Aishah White said “I don’t have a comment, just a question. Will Spotify remove all the artists listed below from playlists?”
Spotify says that R. Kelly’s music will stay on the service, however Spotify “just won’t promote it to users through its playlists.”
Apple Music and Pandora are simply “exercising some editorial control over who goes on the curated lists” and not “pulling [the accused artists] music from their catalogs.”
Will these streaming services “judgement” have an effect on artists? Will it change what these artists do in music?
What do you think of Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora’s new policies?
Sources: BBC News, Gizmodo, Independent, The New York Times, PBS, Spotify, Variety, Verge. Images: People Magazine, Pitchfork, The La Salle Falconer, Variety.