Music Industry

Published on June 1st, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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Spotify has officially dropped its “hateful content and conduct” policy

Wanna know how much of an effect Spotify’s “hate content and conduct” policy has had on traffic? Zero. But in terms of controversy, the effect has been massive. So massive that a Spotify has already canceled the policy.

To recap: Spotify decided to exert its editorial policy by removing artists with, er, dodgy legal issues from their promoted playlists. Guys like R Kelly, XXXTentacion, and Chris Brown–all with felony convictions or charges–were declared off-limits from playlists but NOT from the platform itself. If you wanted to hear something from any of those performers, all you had to do was enter their name into the search field.

While Spotify was praised in some quarters, there was plenty of criticism, including from Troy Carter, its global head of creative services.

Today (Friday, June 1), Spotify blew out the policy.

Spotify recently shared a new policy around hate content and conduct. And while 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.

It’s important to note that our policy had two parts. The first was related to promotional decisions in the rare cases of the most extreme artist controversies.

As some have pointed out, this language was vague and left too many elements open to interpretation. We created concern that an allegation might affect artists’ chances of landing on a Spotify playlist and negatively impact their future. Some artists even worried that mistakes made in their youth would be used against them.

That’s not what Spotify is about. We don’t aim to play judge and jury. 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.

The second part of our policy addressed hate content. 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.

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.

More at Variety.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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