May 25, 2018

Spotify to review its 'hateful conduct' policy following industry criticism

Two weeks after Spotify removed music by R Kelly and rapper XXXTentacion from its editorial playlists, in accordance with its new "hateful conduct" policy, the streaming platform will restore music by the latter in response to a backlash from the industry and its own staff.

Spotify announced the "hate conduct and hateful conduct" policy on 10 May, explaining it wouldn’t censor content because of an artist’s behaviour, but that its “editorial decisions” should reflect the company’s 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.”

Representatives for acts including rapper Kendrick Lamar called Spotify chief executive officer Daniel Ek and head of artist relations Troy Carter to express their frustration with the policy and threaten to pull their music from the platform.

Spotify is reportedly in discussion with the music industry and civil rights activists about how to adjust its rules following concern that the first acts affected were black men, while the music of white men with violent histories remained on editorial playlists. Bloomberg