Spotify removes R. Kelly music from playlists

May 11, 2018

Under the terms of a new public hate content and hateful conduct policy, Spotify users will no longer see music from R. Kelly on curated playlists like RapCaviar, Discover Weekly or New Music Friday. 

"We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly," Spotify told Billboard in a statement. "His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions -- what we choose to program -- to reflect our values. 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."

Though he has never been convicted of a crime, over the past few years Kelly has been accused of running a “sex cult”. Last week, the Time’s Up organization, which formed around the #MeToo movement to support victims of sexual abuse, joined a grass-roots #MuteRKelly campaign that has called on his record label and concert promoter, as well as local venues, radio stations and streaming services, to cease its support of the singer. Although RCA Records has not dropped Kelly thus far, Spotify has distanced itself from promoting his music. 

Oronike Odeleye, a founder of the #MuteRKelly campaign, said she was “just dumbfounded and awe-struck” that Spotify had “decided to take this moral stance against R. Kelly’s amoral behavior.” She added, “Hopefully it’s a domino effect with the other streaming services.”

Spotify was valued at $26.5 billion last month.