Spotify have axed their controversial Hateful Conduct Policy

Written by Tyler Jenke on 3rd June, 2018
Spotify have axed their controversial Hateful Conduct Policy

After less than a month in existence, Spotify have rolled back their Hateful Conduct Policy, days after the company’s CEO admitted that mistakes had been made in its implementation.

Back in May, it was revealed that Spotify were to remove the music of artists who music supposedly “advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual.” Two artists that were specifically named by the streaming service included R. Kelly and XXXTentacion, and their music was soon removed from playlists on the platform in accordance with their new Hateful Conduct Policy.

While a US women’s advocacy group followed this news by urging Spotify to remove further artists, hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar was reported to have hit back at the service, threatening to pull his music from Spotify because he felt that the new policy was unfairly targeting people of colour.

Now, after Spotify CEO Daniel Ek admitted that the company’s new policy was “rolled out wrong”, the streaming service has reverted its controversial new guidelines, with a number of reasons being cited for its removal.

“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,” the company explained in a post on its website.

“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. As some have pointed out, this language was vague and left too many elements open to interpretation,” it continued. “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.”

“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.”

Following the removal of Spotify’s Hateful Conduct policy, Anthony ‘Top Dawg’ Tiffith, CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment, revealed that Kendrick Lamar did indeed threaten to pull his music from the streaming service in protest of this new policy.

“I reached out to Troy [Carter, Spotify’s global head of creator services] over there, we had a conversation and I expressed how I felt about it, about censorship, how you can’t do artists that way,” explained Tiffith in an interview with Billboard.

“I don’t think it’s right for artists to be censored, especially in our culture. How did they just pick those [artists] out? How come they didn’t pick out any others from any other genres or any other different cultures? There [are] so many other artists that have different things going on, and they could’ve picked anybody. But it seems to me that they’re constantly picking on hip-hop culture.”

“My whole thing with them was, we gotta fix this situation, and if it can’t be fixed, then there’s gonna be a real problem, we’re gonna have to start pulling our music from the site” he continued. “I was willing to get the whole culture to back out. There were other people in the business, other powerful artists that were willing to back what I was saying, because nobody agrees with censorship like that.”

Spotify haven’t made any further statements or comments in regards to the future of the Hateful Conduct policy, or if they will tweak the wording to ensure a new policy can be implemented successfully in the future.

Check out Kendrick Lamar’s ‘HUMBLE.’:

The article was originally published on The Industry Observer