Musicians that either perform “hate content” or demonstrate hateful conduct will no longer be welcome on Spotify. The company announced today that it will refrain from promoting or remove content that it deems hateful. “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,” the company said.
Spotify defines hateful content as music 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 is working 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 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 crack down on artists who “have demonstrated hateful conduct personally,” such as violence against children or sexual violence. When reached by The Verge, Spotify said the changes will affect artists like R. Kelly, who has been accused repeatedly of sexual misconduct and of holding women against their will in a cult. “We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly,” a spokesperson said via email. “His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it.” Spotify declined to comment on any other artists included in the new policy.
The company says that it supports artists in a variety of ways, from offering their music on Spotify to promoting their music. “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.”