On Thursday, Spotify announced that it would begin to refrain from promoting artists it deemed performing “hate content” or “demonstrate hateful conduct personally” on its company-curated playlists. This includes artist R. Kelly, who has been accused over the years of sexual misconduct. Pandora and Apple Music have now taken similar steps to deemphasize artists.
Pitchfork reported that Apple quietly began to pull R. Kelly from some of its curated playlists prior to Spotify’s announcement in light of renewed reports about his behavior from a number of women. However, other artists, like XXXTentacion, who was also pulled from Spotify’s playlists, remains on Apple’s promoted playlists.
Similarly, Pandora has reportedly been working for “months” to update its policies on artists who have exhibited questionable behavior, according to Blast. Like Spotify, it has removed Kelly from its playlists. The service told Blast that its “policy is to not actively promote artists with certain demonstrable behavioral, ethical or criminal issues. We approach each of these scenarios on a case–by–case basis to ensure we address components true to Pandora’s principles while not overreaching and avoiding censorship.”
Spotify told The Verge earlier this week that R. Kelly’s music remains on the various services: the service just won’t promote it to users through its playlists. The same appears to be true for Apple and Pandora: the companies aren’t pulling their music from their catalogs, and are simply exercising some editorial control over who goes on the curated lists. Spotify says that it’s working from user feedback and with help from groups such as GLAAD, the Anti-Defamation League, and others, although it’s not clear if Apple and Pandora are taking similar tactics, leaving them to work on a case-by-case basis to determine who gets the extra attention, and who does not.