AP NEWS

Spotify backtracks on anti-hate policy following criticism

June 1, 2018
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In this June 30, 2013 file photo, R. Kelly performs at the BET Awards in Los Angeles. Spotify’s CEO says the company rolled out its new anti-hate policy in the wrong way. This month the streaming service announced it would remove music R. Kelly and rapper XXXtentacion from its playlists, citing the new policy on hate content and hateful conduct. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Spotify is backpedaling on its recently announced anti-hate policy after some music industry players criticized it.

The company said in blog post that when it announced the policy on May 10 it “created confusion and concern” and that Spotify “didn’t spend enough time getting input from our own team.”

Last month Spotify said it would remove from its playlists music from R. Kelly, who has been accused of sexual abuse, and XXXTentacion, who’s awaiting trial on charges he beat his pregnant girlfriend. XXXTentacion has pleaded innocent to the charges against him and R. Kelly faces no criminal case; he was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008.

Some praised the company’s decision, but others criticized it, saying it targeted specific artists.

Spotify said Friday it is “moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct.”

Spotify didn’t officially say it would begin promoting XXXTentacion and R. Kelly’s music. XXXTentacion, however, is now back on Spotify’s popular Rap Caviar playlist.

Women’s advocacy group UltraViolet — who praised Spotify when they announced the policy last month — was not happy with the company’s new decision.

“When music platforms promote abusers, they allow those abusers to reap in profits, lining their pockets in royalties and expanding their fan bases. This normalizes violence against women,” Shaunna Thomas, the co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet, said in a statement Friday. “Spotify’s values are now clear for all to see: Abusers take priority over survivors of their crimes. We will not forget their decision.”