Spotify has announced a new "Hate Content and Hateful Conduct" policy, and among the first artists is effected is R. Kelly. Multiple women have come forward in recent weeks accusing the rapper of sexual abuse and running a "sex cult."
Spotify has instituted a new "Hate Content and Hateful Conduct" policy and internal content monitoring tool, Spotify AudioWatch.
The expanded effort will draw on alerts from groups fighting hate content, including The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, Color Of Change, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), GLAAD, Muslim Advocates, and the International Network Against Cyber Hate.
"We do not tolerate hate content on Spotify - 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," the company said in a statement.
When Spotify is alerted to content that violates their policy, they may remove it in consultation with rights holders or refrain from promoting or playlisting it on the service.
The streamer acknowledges, however, that not everyone will agree with their decision to downgrade or delete a track or artist: "It’s important to remember that cultural standards and sensitivities vary widely. There will always be content that is acceptable in some circumstances, but is offensive in others, and we will always look at the entire context."
R. Kelly - Downgraded, But Not Deleted
It's unclear which artists or tracks will Spotify stop promoting or delete all together, but the company has acknowledged that R. Kelly has already been pulled from RapCaviar, Discover Weekly or New Music Friday, and any other official or algorithmically chosen genre- or mood-based playlists. In a statement the company said:
"We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly. 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."