Spotify Reels Back ‘Vague’ Hateful Conduct Policy, Won’t ‘Play Judge and Jury’ for Artists

Streaming giant declines to comment on whether R. Kelly will be reinstated on its featured playlists

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Spotify is walking back its policy on “hateful conduct” after strong pushback from musicians and labels argued it was “too vague,” the company announced on Friday.

The decision comes only weeks after the streaming giant removed R. Kelly’s music from its curated playlists, following more accusations of sexual misconduct against the singer. Now, Spotify says it doesn’t want to “play judge and jury” with its artists. The company declined to tell TheWrap if R. Kelly’s music would once again show up in its featured playlists.

“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,” the company announced in a blog post. “Across all genres, our role is not to regulate artists. Therefore, we are moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct.”

The second aspect of Spotify’s policy against “hate content” will remain in effect: “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,” the company added.

The policy update comes on the heels of CEO Daniel Ek saying Spotify could have “done a much better job” with its roll out.