Spotify's recent decision, in compliance with there new Hate Content & Hateful Conduct Policy, to remove XXXTentacion and R. Kelly music from their Spotify-owned playlists has caused a stir since it was announced Thursday morning.
As with most hot-button issues, everyone has a take, but as a result, there has been a lot of circulated misinformation. As a reminder, no one has had their content removed or banned from Spotify. Per the policy itself, Spotify is merely choosing who to and not to promote on their controlled playlists as a bid to have their editorial direction in line with their company morals.
In light of the uproar of celebration, fears, and opinions, we asked artists and producers to respond to these changes with their own thoughts, questions, and concerns.
You can find 10 anonymous responses below.
"They're a Swedish company that isn't required to promote anyone's music. They aren't pulling songs off the service, they just aren't promoting them for free via one of the largest taste-making platforms in the industry: the Spotify playlist. Don't like it, start your own platform."
"The policy is a good way to take action without punishing fans who are often oblivious to their favorite artists dark lifestyle. Also, they aren’t obligated to promote anyone."
"I think the Spotify hate policy is a very public gesture. As a public company they have investors to please and a "reputation" to put out to the world. I just don't understand why they chose those two artists specifically when there are tons of artists out there with worse crimes. Neither of these artists were actually convicted of their crimes (from my knowledge) when someone like Chris Brown plead guilty to assault of Rihanna. Also, as a producer, I don't think it's fair for producers and songwriters who rely on these royalties for income. They shouldn't be punished for something the artist did. And it can be said vice-versa. If a producer of a song has a hate crime will they take down all the songs he/she has produced and make that affect the artist? Spotify has the ability to make or break any artist and they know it. And I think they will start abusing that power more and more as time goes on."
"I think it's extremely dangerous to set this kind of precedence without a clear explanation and transparency to their process. Plus, neither artist has been convicted [of a crime]. It just gets really ugly when you start doing this shit seemingly without a due process."
"If Spotify wanted to make a difference they should've removed R. Kelly and XXXTentacion’s music off of the service completely."
"The policy should have a bit more clarity on what is and isn’t considered “hateful content.” To me, it just seems like they’re picking and choosing the artists they like versus the ones they don’t. Spotify has all the right to do so, though. It’s THEIR service. I just hope it doesn’t trickle over to other platforms, starting a whole new wave of ACTUAL censorship."
"The stand that Spotify took as a company will give the entire MUSIC industry an example to follow for such matters. ACCOUNTABILITY matters. As someone who cares about human beings, I’m excited. Spotify played it safe by only removing artist’s music from Spotify-made playlists, but this will become a slippery slope. Will the new Nas album produced by Kanye West not be added to any of Spotify’s curated playlists? I’m sure they already thought about these scenarios. Right?"
"It's in their absolute right to decide who they want to feature and promote on their own personalized and curated playlists. It would have been a slippery slope if they decided to ban the artist(s) entirely from their platform, especially based on allegations and not solid convictions. As an artist myself, I can see both sides of the spectrum. Ultimately, I believe it's a case by case scenario that everyone needs to decide on their own where to draw the line."
"Spotify’s new policy is a good move. Abusers and hate mongers shouldn’t be able to profit off of sparking controversy. XXX, in particular, has seen way too much success off the marketing of the awful things he’s done. My biggest concern is that they treat this as a Band-Aid PR stunt to cut any controversial artists from playlists. I don’t support XXX but his management’s inquiry to Spotify raised a great point. If they’re gonna cut XXX and R. Kelly [from their playlists], they also need to cut countless abusers from other genres. The targeting of these two artists, in particular, sets a problematic precedent that only black artists will be hurt by this change."
"I totally agree with the new policy from a financial standpoint and a moral standpoint. From a financial standpoint, Spotify is known as a top-tier digital music service, one that has well over 40 million people actively paying for subscriptions on a monthly basis [Editor's Note: The company has surpassed 50 million paying customers.] I think it's important to note that Spotify went public very recently, which I have no doubt influenced this policy. If you are having people invest in the brand, thus gaining ownership, it's only logical to take every preemptive measure to protect your investment. From this standpoint, why would a company deliberately promote an artist in their to their millions of users, when that artist has a checkered history? These playlists put hundreds of thousands of dollars into these labels/artists hands and because of that, it could appear to some, that Spotify condones these types of things. From a moral standpoint, I think there's a fine line that we must walk when it comes to passing judgment or aspersions on people in general. We have an entire system; good, bad or indifferent that puts a 'ding' on your record when you are accused or convicted of something that's generally not acceptable from a societal standpoint. All musicians are of no exception. If you commit a felony, you understand that it will be difficult to gain employment from that point moving forward (whether you agree if it should be more difficult is a subject for another day). So if you are a musician, you also understand that there will be brands and sponsors that will not want you endorsing their product. I think creatives and artists, in general, are always given more "passes/chances" than normal people, so if anyone is overreacting that this policy is going to affect the music that these musicians create in any way in how it pertains to Spotify, I think that's jumping the gun."