R Kelly among artists affected under Spotify’s new policy

On Thursday, the digital music platform Spotify announced new policy preventing the promotion of music from any “hateful” artist, including singer and alleged sexual predator R Kelly.

In a Hate Content & Hateful Conduct section on their policies page, Spotify announced that it would be taking stringent measures against hateful content and artists who commit hateful conduct.

The company classifies hate content as anything 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”.

The company announced that, although it will not ban music from artists who behave maliciously, the platform will no longer promote their music. As a result, their music will be removed from all Spotify-owned playlists and recommendations.

READ MORE: Time’s Up movement sets sights on R Kelly


Among the artists affected by the policy is R Kelly, who has faced a recent spate of allegations of abuse of underage girls and women.

In a statement to NPR, Spotify 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.”

The R&B singer, who is popular for his songs I Believe I Can Fly and Ignition,was recently the focus of a viral social media campaign, #MuteRKelly, that called for Spotify and Apple Music to expel him. The campaign also called for his May 11 concert in Greensboro, South Carolina, to be cancelled, but the point was ineffective.

The singer has faced sexual misconduct allegations before. In 2008, Kelly was charged with child pornography, but was acquitted.

Kelly’s management commented to NPR on Spotify’s action, claiming that it is baseless.

“Spotify has the right to promote whatever music it chooses and in this case its actions are without merit. It is acting based on false and unproven allegations,” they said. “It is bowing to social-media fads and picking sides in a fame-seeking dispute over matters that have nothing to do with serving customers.”

READ MORE: Don’t follow the Pied Piper

In order to implement their policy, Spotify will take a “three-tiered” approach, according to NPR.

First, it will partner with advocacy groups including Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, Colour Of Change, Showing Up for Racial Justice, GLAAD, Muslim Advocates and the International Network Against Cyber Hate.

Then it will create an algorithm to filter out hate content. Lastly, it will give users the ability to report hateful content.

R Kelly is not the only artist affected by these policy changes. Rapper XXXTentacion, who faces charges of domestic abuse, will be impaired by the platform’s new policy.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

The new wave way: How SA’s now generation moves different

South Africa’s newest stars have turned to the internet and cultivated cult followings to launch themselves onto the global music scene

Playlist: The Bill Withers’ Essentials

With a career spanning over four decades, the Mail & Guardian recalls how the late Bill Withers' music infiltrated our collective psyche.

Playlist: RnBetter Not Go Outside

Fight the indoor blues with our R&B lockdown playlist featuring the likes of SWV, Ashanti and Keith Sweat

Editorial: Dropping celebs isn’t enough

There are not often consequences for men who are reported to have sexually abused women. But maybe, just maybe things are changing for the better.

Weinstein convicted of sex assault, rape in ‘new era’ for #MeToo

The 67-year-old was remanded in New York's notorious Rikers Island jail after the jury of seven men and five women found the once powerful Hollywood producer guilty of criminal sexual acts

WHO urges calm as China coronavirus death toll reaches 2000

More than 74 000 people have now been infected by the virus in China, with hundreds more cases in some 25 countries
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Mboweni plans to freeze public sector wage increases for the...

The mid-term budget policy statement delivered by the finance minister proposes cutting all non-interest spending by R300-billion.

SAA to receive R10.5-billion government bailout after all

Several struggling state-owned entities received extra funds after the medium term budget policy speech

Malawi court judges win global prize

Members of the small African country’s judiciary took a stand for democracy to international approval
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday