Following additional allegations against R. Kelly, numerous streaming services “muted” that singer’s music from their respective spotlighted playlists, with Spotify taking the extra step of also removing XXXTentacion, the chart-topping rapper who was previously charged with battering a pregnant woman.
While Spotify’s move was applauded in some circles, the policy also fueled censorship concerns. “Whoa. Are they censoring the music? That’s dangerous,” Top Dawg Entertainment president Punch tweeted. A representative for Kendrick Lamar, a TDE rapper, reportedly called Spotify CEO Daniel Ek to “express their frustration” over the policy, Bloomberg reports. Spotify’s industry liaison Troy Carter also reportedly threatened to leave the streaming service if the policy wasn’t revised.
Following Spotify’s new anti-hate policy, XXXTentacion’s manager provided a long list of artists with checkered pasts and criminal allegations that were not punished by the streaming services. The policy has also been employed to expel white nationalist “hate bands” from the streaming service.
As the Associated Press reported, after Kelly was taken off of streaming services’ playlists (but not the services themselves), the singer actually saw an uptick in his streaming numbers in the week following the removal. Bloomberg notes that, despite restoring XXXTentacion’s playlist placement, Spotify has no plans to promote Kelly again.