Spotify removes ‘hate conduct’ policy following backlash

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It’s safe to say Spotify went into judge and jury mode recently, with their recent announcement of their refusal to include R Kelly or XXXTentacion’s songs in major playlists, but it comes as not so much as a surprise that this action has now been withdrawn.

Public affairs boss Jonathan Prince was said to have sparked the policy, which caused a whole entire debate into whether an artist should be penalised by platforms such as Spotify for accusations or convictions that take place in their personal life.

Industry professionals, publications and influencers came forward with mixed understandably mixed views about the whole policy. Staff within Spotify also had mixed opinions, including those at senior level including Global Head of Creator Services Troy Carter.

Following the release of the below statement at the beginning of this month, Spotify’s new policy focuses entirely on ‘hateful content’ as opposed to artists conduct, which seems to be a better fit for musicians across all genres. Spotify agreed that their initial action in regards to R Kelly and XXXTentacion ‘left too many elements open to interpretation’, which caused controversy over what one would class as acceptable for their playlists.

Check out the statement released on June 1st:

“Spotify recently shared a new policy around hate content and conduct. And while we believe our intentions were good, the language was too vague, we created confusion and concern, and didn’t spend enough time getting input from our own team and key partners before sharing new guidelines.

It’s important to note that our policy had two parts. The first was related to promotional decisions in the rare cases of the most extreme artist controversies.

“ACROSS ALL GENRES, OUR ROLE IS NOT TO REGULATE ARTISTS. THEREFORE, WE ARE MOVING AWAY FROM IMPLEMENTING A POLICY AROUND ARTIST CONDUCT.”

As some have pointed out, this language was vague and left too many elements open to interpretation. We created concern that an allegation might affect artists’ chances of landing on a Spotify playlist and negatively impact their future. Some artists even worried that mistakes made in their youth would be used against them.

That’s not what Spotify is about. We don’t aim to play judge and jury. We aim to connect artists and fans – and Spotify playlists are a big part of how we do that.

Our playlist editors are deeply rooted in their respective cultures, and their decisions focus on what music will positively resonate with their listeners. That can vary greatly from culture to culture, and playlist to playlist.

Across all genres, our role is not to regulate artists. Therefore, we are moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct.

“THAT’S NOT WHAT SPOTIFY IS ABOUT. WE DON’T AIM TO PLAY JUDGE AND JURY.”

The second part of our policy addressed hate content. Spotify does not permit content whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. As we’ve done before, we will remove content that violates that standard.

We’re not talking about offensive, explicit, or vulgar content – we’re talking about hate speech.

We will continue to seek ways to impact the greater good and further the industry we all care so much about. We believe Spotify has an opportunity to help push the broader music community forward through conversation, collaboration and action.

We’re committed to working across the artist and advocacy communities to help achieve that.”

 

What are your thoughts? Are you in support of this new policy, or should music platforms still penalise artists for personal accusations or convictions? Tweet us @LinkUpTV

 

Image sourced from Gazette review.