Spotify has announced a policy on hate content and hateful conduct that could see music removed from the service or denied promotion and playlist opportunities.
Hate content is defined as something 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’ according to a Spotify blog post.
The streaming service has partnered with a number of rights advocacy groups to help identify content that violates its policy, and launched an internal monitoring system, Spotify AudioWatch.
R. Kelly, who has a number of sexual harassment and abuse claims against him, is one of the first artists to be affected by the changes which have seen his music removed from all playlists on the platform.
“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.”
A Spotify spokesperson explained to Billboard: “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 blog post continues: ‘We believe in openness, tolerance, respect, and freedom of expression, and we want to promote those values through music on our platform.
‘It’s important to us that our values are reflected in all the work that we do, whether it’s distribution, promotion, or content creation.
‘At the same time, however, it’s important to remember that cultural standards and sensitivities vary widely.
‘There will always be content that is acceptable in some circumstances, but is offensive in others, and we will always look at the entire context.’
Rights advocacy partners include The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, Color Of Change, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), GLAAD, Muslim Advocates, and the International Network Against Cyber Hate.
Spotify AudioWatch will identify content that has been flagged as hate content on specific international registers.
The post concludes: ‘This is our first iteration of this new policy.
‘These are complicated issues, and we’re going to continue to revise our Policy on Hate Content and Hateful Conduct.
‘We’ll make some mistakes, we’ll learn from them, and we’ll always listen to you as we work to keep building the Spotify platform.’
Music Business Worldwide