R: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella
On May 10, Spotify took the unprecedented move of taking action against artists they deemed to be guilty of "hateful conduct." XXXTentacion, R. Kelly, and Tay-K had their songs removed from the service's promoted playlists, though their music could still be searched for by any user wanting to listen to it. Now Spotify will reinstate the former's music following a series of protests and complaints from industry insiders, company employees, and artists including Kendrick Lamar.
Bloomberg reports that Spotify told those who complained that XXX's music would be restored to their company-made playlists, many of which (including industry movers and shakers like RapCaviar) are invaluable tools for music discovery. Some criticized the "hateful conduct" policy as censorship and racist (all three affected artists are black) while others said it was a necessary first step in starting accountability in a music industry that has been largely unaffected by movements like #MeToo. Bloomberg reports that representatives for Kendrick Lamar contacted Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and the company's head of artist relations Troy Carter, threatening to pull the rapper's music from Spotify if the policy was kept.
Lamar's possible support for XXX is unsurprising, given that he tweeted a link to the artist's 17 album last year, praising it as "raw thoughts." Lamar has also given no comment to date on the detailed allegations against XXX, including the assault, sexual abuse, and forced confinement of his then-pregnant ex-girlfriend. XXX experienced a 17 percent drop in streams following the implementation of Spotify's policy, while Kelly's streams only grew amidst a plethora of new accusations and the ongoing #MuteRKelly movement. The company has given no word on whether the latter's music would also be promoted again. You can read more on Spotify's response here.
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