More than a month after Spotify went public, the popular streaming service announced the implementation of its polarizing “hate content and hateful conduct” policy. The measure essentially punished artists who promoted violence and hatred in their lyrics or those who demonstrated this type of behavior in their personal lives.
XXXTentacion and R. Kelly were the first entertainers to be affected by the new practice, as their material was promptly removed from Spotify’s official playlists; however, exactly two weeks after the policy was introduced, Bloomberg reports the company has had a change of heart.
According to Bloomberg, sources with knowledge of the matter say Spotify’s top executives intend to restore XXX’s music to its editorial content, following widespread criticism from fans, music figures, and activists.
Representatives for several acts, including rapper Kendrick Lamar, called Spotify Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek and head of artist relations Troy Carter to express their frustration. They also threatened to pull their music if the company maintained its current policy.
“It is virtually impossible to police millions of songs, lyrics, contributors and artists,” said Vickie Nauman, a media consultant, told the publication. “Where and how do you draw the line? I support taking a stand and not willingly sponsoring a known violent artist, but it’s quite unclear to me how you can consistently monitor and apply any sort of similar editorial/social/cultural standards across art on any scale.”
Though Spotify’s policy was met with a considerate amount of praise, many people accused the streaming service of censorship and discrimination. Some argued Spotify’s policy was not consistent, as many other artists have faced criminal allegations similar to those against XXX and Kelly. XXX’s team even gave the New York Times a list of these musicians, along with the question: “Will Spotify remove all the artists listed below from playlists?”
It’s important to note that XXX’s and Kelly’s music is still available to stream on Spotify; however, they are not available on its official playlists.
Sources told Bloomberg that the platform is now working with industry insiders as well as civil-rights activists to come up with suitable alterations to the policy. Sources also said, “there are no plans to begin promoting R. Kelly again.”
It’s unclear when XXX’s music will return to the company’s editorial content.