Spotify recently rolled out a revamped version of its music streaming app which brought new features such as on-demand and custom playlists for free users, data saver mode, etc. Spotify has now put into effect a new content and conduct policy which aims to clamp down on hateful content on its platform, and will also stop promoting artists who are embroiled in what it seems inappropriate behaviour in the real world.
Spotify will now identify and remove songs from its playlists that violate the policy, and will also stop promoting artists if they are seen as promoting hateful behaviour or content in public.
Spotify claims that any content which promotes hatred or violent sentiments against an individual/group on the grounds of ‘race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability’ won’t be tolerated, and might be removed. If taking down the particular content is not an option, Spotify will stop promoting the song in playlists.
In order to implement the policy, Spotify has partnered with rights advocacy groups such as The Southern Poverty Law Center, Color Of Change and Muslim Advocates among others. Moreover, Spotify has also developed a content screening tool called ‘Spotify AudioWatch’ to identify songs which have been flagged as inappropriate or hateful.
As for the conduct of the artists or music creators, Spotify claims that it won’t restrict or remove songs by artists who have been involved in sex crimes or violence against children. However, Spotify will change the way it partners with such artists by not promoting their songs in playlists and axing them from other promotional activities.
The first victim of Spotify’s new artist conduct policies is artist R Kelly, whose songs have now been removed from machine-generated and editorial playlists, although his songs will remain in Spotify’s database. Fans and US groups have been calling on the music industry to cut ties with Kelly after decades-long allegations of sex crimes. Spotify seems to have acted in this instance due to these very allegations.