Spotify Removes R. Kelly and XXXTentacion's Music From Its Playlists

By: Kayla Pasacreta

R Kelly, photo via  Shuttershock

R Kelly, photo via Shuttershock

 Spotify , the biggest music streaming provider in the country, has announced they will officially be removing the music of R. Kelly and XXXTentacion from their official playlists. Although music from both artists will still be available on the app, it will not appear in the company's officially sponsored playlists. The move is a part of the company's new hate conduct and hate content policy, the company announced Thursday,

We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly,” Spotify told Billboard in a statement. “His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.
— Spotify's official statement

Spotify's Vice-President and head of content Johnathan Price further explained to Billboard, "So we've decided that in some circumstances, we may choose to not work with that artist or their content in the same way -- to not program it, to not playlist it, to not do artist marketing campaigns with that artist."

The move comes in light of a hashtag that surfaced last week titled #MuteRKelly, a social media campaign designed to urge music consumers to boycott Kelly's music. R. Kelly has piled up sexual assault allegations, and also married the late singer Aaliyah when she was just 15, making him a long-time subject of controversy. 19-year-old XXXTentacion has been accused of aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness-tampering, according to Pitchfork.

XXXTentacion's team called Spotify out on the ban ban, listing multiple artists with domestic violence accusations and charges whose music has not been removed from Spotify:

R. Kelly's team also fought back, stating, 

R Kelly never has been accused of hate, and the lyrics he writes express love and desire … He is innocent of the false and hurtful accusations in the ongoing smear campaign against him, waged by enemies seeking a payoff … It is acting based on false and unproven allegations. It is bowing to social-media fads and picking sides in a fame-seeking dispute over matters that have nothing to do with serving customers.
— R. Kellys's team

Spotify is holding their ground, insisting the company can select which artists they choose to promote.