Musicians that either perform “hate content” or demonstrate hateful conduct will no longer be welcome on Spotify. This announcement was made by the company stating that it will remove or no longer promote content that it deems hateful. According to the company, It’s important to us that our values are reflected in all the work that we do, whether it’s distribution, promotion, or content creation.”
Spotify’s definition of hateful content is music which “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 in conjunction with groups such as 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 is working to identify music in violation of these rules. It’s also using an internal monitoring tool and has promised to take feedback from users.
Spotify will also take severely repressive actions against artists “have demonstrated hateful conduct personally,” who such as violence against children or sexual violence. In an interview with one of our sources, the company said the changes will affect artists like R. Kelly who has been accused multiple times of sexual misconduct and of holding women against their will in a cult. In an email, a spokesperson 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.” Spotify refused to comment on any other artists included in the new policy.
The company says that it supports artists in many different ways, from offering their music on Spotify to promoting their music. In their words, “While we don’t believe in censoring content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values.”