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Spotify Removes R. Kelly From Its Curated Playlists

Starting today, you won't be able to find R. Kelly's music on Spotify's official playlists like Rap Caviar and Discover Weekly.
Queens, US

Spotify has made the decision to stop actively promoting R. Kelly. Effective today, the Chicago singer's music will be removed from the Spotify's officially curated playlists as a part of their new policies surrounding hate content and hate conduct, though they aren't removing R. Kelly from the platform completely.

You'll still be able to find R. Kelly's music on Spotify if you want, but you won't find him in places like RapCaviar, Discover Weekly, or New Music Friday, or genre-specific playlists like those focused on hip-hop and R&B. Spotify revealed their reasoning behind no longer aligning with the Chicago singer in a Billboard exclusive :


His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. 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, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.

The new policy defines hate content as anything 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," Read the rest of the statement at Billboard.

Update: Due to the new policy, Spotify has also removed XXXTentacion's "SAD!" and Tay-K's "After You" from its curated playlists as of May 9, Billboard and SPIN report. R. Kelly's team released a statement to BuzzFeed News about Spotify's decision to remove his music from their playlists.

We appreciate Spotify for continuing to make R. Kelly’s songs accessible to millions of people, although it will stop listing his songs on its official playlists.

Spotify is adopting a new “Hate Content & Hateful Conduct” policy. R Kelly never has been accused of hate, and the lyrics he writes express love and desire.

Mr. Kelly for 30 years has sung songs about his love and passion for women. He is innocent of the false and hurtful accusations in the ongoing smear campaign against him, waged by enemies seeking a payoff. He never has been convicted of a crime, nor does he have any pending criminal charges against him.


Spotify has the right to promote whatever music it chooses, and in this case its actions are without merit. It is acting based on false and unproven allegations. It is bowing to social-media fads and picking sides in a fame-seeking dispute over matters that have nothing to do with serving customers.

Meanwhile, though, Spotify promotes numerous other artists who are convicted felons, others who have been arrested on charges of domestic violence and artists who sing lyrics that are violent and anti-women in nature.

Mr. Kelly falls into none of these categories, and it is unfortunate and shortsighted that Spotify fails to recognize this.

Kristin Corry is a staff writer for Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.