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Spotify Announces New “Hate Content” Policy

DJ Experience, News | May 10, 2018   

Spotify Announces New “Hate Content” Policy

R. Kelly and other popular artists have been pulled from playlists and promotions.

Editor’s note: Spotify updated the Hate Content & Hateful Conduct Policy on June 1, 2018. The company stated that they will be “moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct” because they “don’t aim to play judge and jury.” Read the full Spotify policy update here

We’re living in complicated times, no one can doubt that. But when it comes to music, do you think artists should have the right to express themselves freely? This is the question circulating the web right now, as the streaming giant, Spotify, has enacted their new Hate Content & Hateful Conduct Policy.

The policy was created in order to remove any content that “promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.”

As of today, under the new policy, songs by artists like R. Kelly and XXXTentacion have been removed from promotions and playlists. Although their music hasn’t been removed completely from the platform, it’s causing a stir that popular artists like these could be affected by the policy.

Here are some highlights from the Policy language:

What do we consider “hate content?” Hate content is content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.

What if content violates our policy? When we are alerted to content that violates our policy, we may remove it (in consultation with rights holders) or refrain from promoting or manually programming it on our service.

What about hateful conduct by an artist? 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 (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.

It begs the question: do we ban an artist for the things they do in their personal lives? Or do we focus solely on the music, the lyrics, and the message of their music? Spotify says in a blog post that this is just the first iteration of the new policy and they’re working to define these blurry and often controversial lines. 

“These are complicated issues, and we’re going to continue to revise our Policy on Hate Content and Hateful Conduct. We’ll make some mistakes, we’ll learn from them, and we’ll always listen to you as we work to keep building the Spotify platform.”

We’ll keep you posted as the story progresses. Let us know what you think about this complicated issue. We want to hear your opinion!

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