Spotify backs off ‘hateful conduct’ policy amid backlash


Less than a month after announcing its “hateful content” and “hateful conduct” policy, Spotify is backing down from one half of the equation. Following staunch criticism, the company has issued updates to its guidelines, noting that the roll out arrived in contrast to the company’s own longstanding policies.

In a news release the company acknowledged that the initial implementation was “too vague,” creating confusion around precisely what shape it would ultimately take.

“We created concern that an allegation might affect artists’ chances of landing on a Spotify playlist and negatively impact their future,” the service writes. “Some artists even worried that mistakes made in their youth would be used against them.”

The “hateful conduct” aspect focused on issues involving artists’ personal lives, and Spotify also appeared to make a point to single out two musicians — R. Kelly and XXXTentacion — in the process. CEO Daniel Ek apologized for that latter bit earlier this week and noted that the policy is continuing to evolve, as rumors surfaced that XXXTentacion’s music would be added back into curated playlists.

The company also clarified the “hateful content” part of the equation, while noting that it would continue to bar songs that fit the bill. “As we’ve done before, we will remove content that violates that standard,” Spotify explains. “We’re not talking about offensive, explicit, or vulgar content – we’re talking about hate speech.”

Spotify also promised to continue working with artists and advocates in order to continually shape the policy.



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