Spotify CEO Regrets Decision To Restrict Music Artists For Allegedly Horrible Behavior

(Photo: TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said Wednesday that he regrets recently implemented policies against “hate speech” and “hateful conduct.” He has reportedly received substantial backlash from portions of the music industry.

“We rolled this out wrong and could have done a much better job,” said Ek while speaking at a media and tech conference in California, according to Bloomberg.

The comments from the leader of the world’s largest paid music streaming platform follow the respective restrictions of musical artists R. Kelly and XXXTentaction, who have been accused of statutory rape and assaulting a pregnant woman, respectively. The two were not banned from having their music available on the service, but were removed from the company’s curated playlists, which are often featured and suggested when first opening the application.

Some, like the organizers and supporters of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, who helped spearhead the grassroots effort to diminish R. Kelly’s presence in the music industry, felt Spotify’s decision was the right one — even though R. Kelly’s overall streaming number went up in the days following.

A founder of the particular #MuteRKelly campaign, Oronike Odeleye said she was “just dumbfounded and awe-struck” when she heard that the Swedish-based music service “decided to take this moral stance,” according to The New York Times. Odeleye hopes it will lead to “a domino effect.”

But representatives for other musicians like rapper Kendrick Lamar allegedly called Ek to share their objections.

“What we were trying to go after was really around hate speech,” Ek said, according to Bloomberg. “It wasn’t trying to be a moral police like who did right and who did wrong. We don’t want to be the judge and the moral police of that.”

Trying to weed out hate speech — like many other ambiguous, and inherently subjective classifications of content and communications — may not be any easier. (RELATED: Twitter: ‘Our Mistake’ For Restricting User Who Criticized Hamas)

Spotify is reportedly planning on reforming the policy in some way. It also intends to restore XXXTentaction’s playlist songs.

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