×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Is Spotify Walking Back Its Anti-Hate Policy?

Spotify will begin walking back its controversial decision to ban certain artists from playlists based on their “hateful conduct” and will “eventually restore songs” by rapper XXXTentacion, according to a report on Bloomberg. While one source close to the situation tells Variety that “nothing has been decided” on the matter, several other sources confirm the report, adding that it came about at the insistence of Troy Carter, the company’s global head of creator services and chief liaison with artists and the music industry.

Reps for Spotify and XXXTentacion’s distributor, Universal Music, declined Variety‘s request for comment.

Spotify’s policy was announced earlier this month via a vague mission statement against “hate content and hateful conduct” and a simultaneous interview with company executive Jonathan Prince stating that R. Kelly — who has been accused multiple times but not convicted of sexual misconduct against young women, including a child-pornography charge that was dismissed in 2008 — would be the first artist to be banned from the streaming giant’s playlists and other promotional efforts. The announcement met with immediate backlash from the media, artists, legal experts and even, according to sources, several senior Spotify executives. Within hours XXXTentacion, accused but not convicted of assaulting his pregnant girlfriend and other serious allegations, had been added to the list, and Texas rapper Tay-K, accused of murder, was apparently added several days later.

The policy was apparently enacted in response to a call from the Women of Color branch of the Time’s Up movement, which called upon Spotify, Apple Music, Kelly’s label RCA Records, Ticketmaster and a North Carolina venue where the singer performed earlier this month to “join us and insist on safety and dignity for women of all kinds.”

While Spotify’s highly subjective policy was met with applause in certain quarters, far more objected to its vagueness, the impracticality of policing it, Spotify’s seeming hubris in making such determinations, and especially the fact that it has thus far targeted only black males who have been accused but not convicted of serious crimes.

The report says that the service “will eventually restore songs” by XXXTentacion, and that the “company’s top executives are talking to the music industry and civil-rights activists about how and when to adjust its rules in a manner suitable to both sides.” A source told Bloomberg that there are no plans to promote Kelly’s music.

The move — which sources say was spearheaded by Jonathan Prince, who was the company’s head of PR during its public dispute with Taylor Swift over royalties in 2014 —  caused such an uproar within the company that Carter was said to be on the verge of quitting. While sources tell Bloomberg that Carter plans to stay on the basis of assurances from CEO Daniel Ek that the policy will be changed, another source tells Variety that the executive would be leaving the company at the end of the year.

Just two months ago, Spotify staged an initial public offering that valued the company at $26 billion.

More Digital

  • Camila Cabello

    Camila Cabello Reveals Podcast Obsessions, Teases New Album at Cannes Lions

    Camila Cabello was the featured speaker at a Tuesday afternoon panel at Cannes Lions, the annual gathering of marketing, design and entertainment professionals in the south of France. Joined by Spotify chief content officer Dawn Ostroff, the talk, moderated by Variety editor Shirley Halperin, was centered around the theme of the golden age of sound [...]

  • Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg

    Quibi Has Already Booked $100 Million in Ad Sales, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman Say

    Quibi, the ambitious short-form video venture from Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman, has sold $100 million in upfront ad inventory with six advertisers ahead of its April 2020 debut. Advertisers that have committed ad spending to Quibi include Google, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Walmart, Progressive and AB InBev, according to the company. The $100 [...]

  • China's iQIYI Signs Content, Channel Pact

    China's iQIYI Signs Content, Channel Pact With Malaysia's Astro

    Astro Malaysia, Malaysia’s leading pay-TV operator, has struck a strategic agreement with Chinese streaming platform iQIYI. Astro obtains the exclusive rights to deliver iQIYI content on TV, on-demand and via OTT in Malaysia. It will launch the first iQIYI-branded channel comprising iQIYI’s extensive slate of original content from drama to variety shows and movies. Astro [...]

  • Toy Story 4 Forky

    ‘Toy Story 4’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Disney Pixar claims the top spot in spending with “Toy Story 4.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.53 million through Sunday for 1,073 national ad airings on 38 networks. [...]

  • Murder Mystery

    Netflix Reveals Record-Breaking Stats for Sandler-Aniston 'Murder Mystery' Flick

    “Murder Mystery,” the latest Adam Sandler film to debut on Netflix, broke viewing records on the streaming service, the company revealed Tuesday. The film, which is co-headlined by Jennifer Aniston, was seen by close to 30.9 million households in its first 3 days, according to a tweet sent out Tuesday afternoon. 🚨ADAM SANDLER AND JENNIFER [...]

  • Charles Caldas To Step Down as

    Charles Caldas To Step Down as Merlin CEO

    Charles Caldas, the only CEO that the independent-label collective Merlin has ever known, announced today that he will step down from his post at the end of 2019, after more than 12 years at the helm of the global rights organization. He will continue his current duties until then and work with the Merlin board to [...]

  • Vice Media Digital Makeover Triggers Traffic

    Vice Media Digital Makeover Triggers Traffic Slide

    Life on its own online isn’t easy for Vice Media. Ending the digital publisher’s controversial practice of rolling up web traffic for partner sites into an aggregated number resulted in the total domestic traffic falling nearly by half between March 2019 and the following month, according to Comscore. The numbers improved slightly for May, when [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content