Spotify to Roll Back Its ‘Hateful Conduct’ Policy

Berlin, Germany – April 20: The logo of the music streaming service Spotify is displayed on a smartphone on April 20, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

It’s easy to imagine the rollout of Spotify’s “hateful conduct” policy being studied by future students of business as an example of what not to do. On May 16, the leading music streaming service made the bold announcement that it would no longer help raise the profiles of artists whose conduct it deemed particularly egregious, doing so by editing them out of its human-curated playlists and excluding them from its powerful algorithm’s suggestions. At the time, Spotify pointed to R. Kelly specifically as the first example of an artist affected by the policy.

No more. In a blog post on Friday, the company wrote that it doesn’t “aim to play judge and jury” and is “moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct.” Bloomberg News reported Friday that some previously removed artists would be placed back on the platform’s playlists, while others (R. Kelly, specifically) would not be.

The policy’s announcement last month was met with deep antipathy by the recording industry — in conversations with NPR, executives voiced concern over Spotify punishing artists who had yet to be found guilty via the justice system, regardless of extensive reportage around their behavior. They also wondered what would happen to artists who were found guilty in court, but had since paid their societal debts.

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SOURCE: NPR, Andrew Flanagan