Published May 10, 2018Spotify has announced it will remove R. Kelly's music from all curated and algorithmically-generated playlists.
The decision comes following the implementation of a new "Hate Content & Hateful Conduct" policy. The policy claims the streaming service will remove any 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 does note, however, that standards and sensitivities vary widely.
The policy goes on to outline "hate conduct" as well, claiming that while the streaming service doesn't censor art based on an artist's behaviour, particularly harmful behaviour may affect how Spotify works with or supports certain artists.
As such, Kelly's music will not be removed from the streaming service completely, but it will no longer be manually programmed to appear on editorial playlists like RapCaviar or Discover Weekly.
"His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it," a rep from Spotify told Billboard.
Earlier this year, Time's Up launched a campaign targeting Kelly dubbed #MuteRKelly, urging streaming services, concert promoters and venues to sever ties with the R&B singer because of the sexual misconduct allegations against him.
As laid out by Time's Up, Kelly has been married to a minor; was sued by four women for sexual misconduct, statutory rape, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and furnishing illegal drugs to a minor; was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography; and has been accused of sexual abuse and imprisonment of women.
Kelly isn't the only artist whose behaviour has cost him a promotional relationship with Spotify; rapper XXXTentacion has also been pulled from the streaming service's editorial content. In addition to numerous other controversies, he was arrested in October 2016 for aggravated assault against a pregnant victim.
UPDATE (5/10, 4 p.m. EDT): A rep for XXXTentacion has reached out to Billboard, saying, "I don't have a comment, just a question. Will Spotify remove all [these] artists from playlists?" The list provided includes the likes of David Bowie, James Brown, Seal, Miles Davis 6ix9ine, Miguel and more. You can find the complete message below.
In response to the removal of artists who are not R. Kelly and XXXTentacion, Spotify has told the New York Times, "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."
a response from XXXTentacion's team on Spotify's decision to remove him from playlists pic.twitter.com/ivtEDJ2yGS— Joe Coscarelli (@joecoscarelli) May 10, 2018
re musicians who are not R. Kelly and XXX, Spotify says… pic.twitter.com/Ri3ImOQDCj— Joe Coscarelli (@joecoscarelli) May 10, 2018