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Spotify Scraps New 'Hate Content' Policy

June 1, 2018
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By Erin Thibeau

Spotify's controversial new policy, meant to reduce "hate content and hateful content" on the streaming platform, is officially dead.  

"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," the company said in a press release Friday.

Spotify first announced the policy on May 10, when it removed R. Kelly and XXXTentacion's music from all of its own playlists, such as RapCaviar, and algorithmic recommendations, such as Discover Weekly.

Related: Spotify Drops R. Kelly and XXXTentacion From Its Playlists in Policy Update

The decision sparked intense debate among artists and fans (many of whom mistakenly believed Spotify was scrubbing artists' music from the platform entirely, instead of just removing it from company-curated plalists). Reps for artists like Kendrick Lamar called Spotify's CEO to express their frustration, Bloomberg reported last week

However, the company maintains it was not aiming "to play judge and jury."

Read the full policy update below:

Spotify Policy Update

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.

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