Today, Spotify announced a change to the policy the music-streaming platform rolled out three weeks ago. Initially, the policy banned artists who engaged in “hate conduct” from Spotify’s promoted playlists. Now, the company is the language in the policy was not clear enough on the provisions.
“[W]hile 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,” Spotify said in a statement. “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.”
The two-part policy, which was announced on May 11, received overwhelming backlash in the music industry. Many called it a slippery slope that could quickly lead to widespread instances of censorship based on unclear guidelines.
At a keynote Q&A at a conference earlier this week, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek addressed the botched effort, “We rolled this out wrong and could have done a much better job.” Now Spotify is trying to clarify the policy further.
“Across all genres, our role is not to regulate artists. Therefore, we are moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct,” the statement read. “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.”
The changed policy allowed XXXTentacion’s music to once again appear on Spotify’s owned playlists, though it does not seem as though R. Kelly’s work will receive the same treatment.
“We don’t aim to play judge and jury,” the company added. “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.”
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