The announcement last month that Spotify was going to ban specific artists from its first party playlists on the grounds of ‘hateful conduct’ sparked some appreciation with a lot of backlash to go along with it. When this started, it removed rappers like R Kelly and XXXTentacion from major playlists due to allegations in their private lives.
Although this may have seemed like a good move to make, some senior executives at Spotify truly disliked the idea. Today, Spotify has pulled back on this initiative, but has implemented a replacement. Music that contains ‘hateful content,’ which includes lyrics that induce hate, will be removed from the service. This is a brilliant step in the right direction.
You can read Spotify’s full statement issued today below:
Spotify recently shared a new policy around hate content and conduct. And while we believe our intentions were good, the language was too vague, we created confusion and concern, and didn’t spend enough time getting input from our own team and key partners before sharing new guidelines.
It’s important to note that our policy had two parts. The first was related to promotional decisions in the rare cases of the most extreme artist controversies.
“ACROSS ALL GENRES, OUR ROLE IS NOT TO REGULATE ARTISTS. THEREFORE, WE ARE MOVING AWAY FROM IMPLEMENTING A POLICY AROUND ARTIST CONDUCT.”
As some have pointed out, this language was vague and left too many elements open to interpretation. We created concern that an allegation might affect artists’ chances of landing on a Spotify playlist and negatively impact their future. Some artists even worried that mistakes made in their youth would be used against them.
That’s not what Spotify is about. We don’t aim to play judge and jury. We aim to connect artists and fans – and Spotify playlists are a big part of how we do that.
Our playlist editors are deeply rooted in their respective cultures, and their decisions focus on what music will positively resonate with their listeners. That can vary greatly from culture to culture, and playlist to playlist.
Across all genres, our role is not to regulate artists. Therefore, we are moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct.
“THAT’S NOT WHAT SPOTIFY IS ABOUT. WE DON’T AIM TO PLAY JUDGE AND JURY.”
The second part of our policy addressed hate content. Spotify does not permit content whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. As we’ve done before, we will remove content that violates that standard.
We’re not talking about offensive, explicit, or vulgar content – we’re talking about hate speech.
We will continue to seek ways to impact the greater good and further the industry we all care so much about. We believe Spotify has an opportunity to help push the broader music community forward through conversation, collaboration and action.
We’re committed to working across the artist and advocacy communities to help achieve that.