Entertainment Tech News

Spotify Stops Promoting “Harmful or Hateful” Artists

Dave Parrack 11-05-2018

Spotify has unveiled a new policy regarding what it terms “hate content and hateful conduct”. This policy will not only see Spotify removing songs and albums from the service, but affect certain artists too. And R. Kelly is the first of those affected artists.


Spotify’s New Policies on Hate

Spotify’s new policy relates to hate content and hateful conduct. Spotify regards hate content as that which “expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual”. So, songs deemed to be racist or sexist, etc.

Hateful conduct concerns the behavior of artists away from the recording studios. So, if a popstar is found to have exhibited, to cite Spotify’s example, “violence against children and sexual violence”, the streaming service may choose to stop supporting that artist.

R. Kelly Has Already Been Demoted

It seems that Spotify has already enacted its policy with regards to R. Kelly. The singer/songwriter best known for I Believe I Can Fly, has essentially been ushered to the Spotify sidelines, with Spotify choosing to no longer promote him or his music.

Spotify has not banned R. Kelly. So if you search for him on Spotify you’ll still be able to enjoy his music. However, Spotify has removed R. Kelly’s music from its curated playlists and it will no longer actively promote him anywhere on the service.


A Slippery Slope Towards Censorship

Spotify has the right to promote (and by the same token, not promote) whichever artists it wants. However, it should be noted that while R. Kelly has been accused of various misdemeanours over the years, he has never actually been found guilty of any wrongdoing.

Regardless of the merits of individual cases, Spotify may end up regretting this. The company could have maintained its policy of not judging an artist about things that have nothing to do with music. Instead, Spotify will now be making moral judgements on people.

This feels like a slippery slope. Right now, the policy is to stop promoting artists that don’t align with Spotify’s values. Which is fair enough. However, tomorrow, this policy may evolve into something else entirely. And then Spotify will be accused of censorship.

Further Reading for Spotify Fans

If you’re not yet familiar with the streaming music service you should check out our unofficial guide to Spotify Spotify Music Streaming: The Unofficial Guide Spotify is the biggest music streaming service around. If you're not sure how to use it, this guide will walk you through the service, as well as offer some crucial top tips. Read More . And if you’re unsure what R. Kelly’s music is being removed from you should check out our primer on Spotify’s automagic playlists Discover New Music with Spotify's Automagic Playlists Spotify has recently released several new ways of generating unique playlists that will help you discover awesome new music. We're here to guide you through these automagic playlist makers. Read More .

Image Credit: Jan Kromer/Flickr

Related topics: Internet Censorship, Spotify, Streaming Music.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Eiler Hansen
    May 13, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    And just is this going to be enforced?
    My band has released two albums. We're a christian act, and one of our releases has been marked with "Explicit lyrics", despite it being decidedly non-explisit, plus in a language none of you probably have ever heard of.
    Are we also going to be 'demoted' or not promoted?

  2. Azagthoth
    May 13, 2018 at 10:32 am

    I guess I will be canceling my Spotify account,. I do not like any of the artist mentioned but I am paying for access to music, not to be told what I can and can not listen too. I am so sick of everyone winning about racism and hate ab p. C. No matter how much you try to block it ignore it it is never going away. It is a human thing, and humans like things and hate things, that will never change so get over it and stop trying to change and control other people, mind your own damn business befor you lose yours.

  3. Jonas Smithson
    May 12, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    I'm an illustrator/cartoonist, and I came to this article under a false assumption -- I wanted to see what visual artists (the traditional meaning of "artists") were affected.

    If you mean musicians, why can't you say "musicians"? Too straightforward for you?

    • dragonmouth
      May 13, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      "visual artists (the traditional meaning of "artists")"
      Maybe only in the minds of visual artists.

      According to Dictionary.com:
      1. a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria.
      2. a person who practices one of the fine arts, especially a painter or sculptor.
      3. a person whose trade or profession requires a knowledge of design, drawing, painting, etc.: a commercial artist.
      4. a person who works in one of the performing arts, as an actor, musician, or singer; a public performer: a mime artist; an artist of the dance.
      5. a person whose work exhibits exceptional skill.
      6. a person who is expert at trickery or deceit:
      He's an artist with cards.
      7. Obsolete. an artisan.

      If you mean illustrators, why can't you say "illustrators".

  4. Penelope Grenola
    May 12, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Jonathan King producer of bands like '10cc ' and some 'Yes'..... What you gonna do with them Spoty ?.....Oh and not forgetting Gary Glitter, I just checked, and his music is there. Paul McCartney got busted for growing weed in 1973..... The list Mr Spotify is almost endless.... I don't think you have thought this one through .......... Have You ??

    • dragonmouth
      May 13, 2018 at 7:16 pm

      Political Correctness is everywhere.

  5. dragonmouth
    May 11, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    No matter what the decision is, it is a possible start down the slippery slope. If you impose standards/rules, it is censorship. If you do not impose standards/rules, it is a slippery slope towards permissiveness and all the problems that come with it. It is a lose-lose situation.