After Time’s Up called on streaming corporations like Spotify to remove R. Kelly’s music from its platform in the wake of decades of allegations of sexual abuse, Spotify has finally responded. Billboard reports that Spotify is wiping its playlists clean of R. Kelly’s music beginning today. While it isn’t deleting Kelly’s catalogue entirely, you will no longer be able to find his music on its promotional and algorithmic playlists — RapCaviar, Discover Weekly, New Music Friday, etc. — or any of its many genre and mood-curated playlists. The decision to cease promoting Kelly’s music falls under Spotify’s new Hate Content and Hateful Conduct policies, which states:
“We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions - what we choose to program - to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
Spotify has confirmed to Vulture that the service will no longer “actively promote” Kelly’s work on the platform but his music will still be available. According to Billboard, Kelly is the first to be penalized under these new guidelines but other artists may be affected. A search of Spotify’s RapCaviar playlist shows that XXXTentacion’s music is no longer listed either; the rapper has faced allegations of domestic violence and a pending trial. Kelly has recently been accused of running a “sex cult,” with two more women coming forward last week to accuse the singer of sexual abuse.
Update, 4 p.m. E.T.: R. Kelly has issued the following statement to BuzzFeed strongly opposing his removal from Spotify playlists, saying “R. Kelly never has been accused of hate, and the lyrics he writes express love and desire.”
We appreciate Spotify for continuing to make R. Kelly’s songs accessible to millions of people, although it will stop listing his songs on its official playlists.Spotify is adopting a new “Hate Content & Hateful Conduct” policy. R Kelly never has been accused of hate, and the lyrics he writes express love and desire.Mr. Kelly for 30 years has sung songs about his love and passion for women. He is innocent of the false and hurtful accusations in the ongoing smear campaign against him, waged by enemies seeking a payoff. He never has been convicted of a crime, nor does he have any pending criminal charges against him.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. 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.Meanwhile, though, Spotify promotes numerous other artists who are convicted felons, others who have been arrested on charges of domestic violence and artists who sing lyrics that are violent and anti-women in nature.Mr. Kelly falls into none of these categories, and it is unfortunate and shortsighted that Spotify fails to recognize this.
A representative for XXXTentacion issued a similar statement to the New York Times, asking if Spotify intends to blacklist other accused artists listed below, including Michael Jackson, Dr. Dre, James Brown, and more.