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Spotify Removes R Kelly's Songs From Playlists

Spotify Removes R Kelly's Songs From Playlists

While the I Believe I Can Fly singer's music will still be available to users, it will no longer feature in Spotify-owned and operated playlists and recommendations.

According to Rolling Stone, Apple's decision on the songwriter was made several weeks ago, and is now starting to take effect. A rep for the rapper then reached out to Billboard, inquiring as to whether other artists with allegations of domestic and sexual violence against them would also be removed from the streaming service.

XXXTentacion's management said they "don't have a comment", but asked if Spotify would continue to include on its playlists other artists accused of wrongdoing, including Gene Simmons, David Bowie, James Brown and Dr Dre.

"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", their statement continued.

On Thursday, Spotify also announced that they are removing the 51-year-old's songs from its own curated playlists and from algorithmic recommendations. The statement cites R. Kelly's indictment for child pornography; lawsuits against him by women for rape, misconduct, assault and unlawful restraint and his controversial (and possibly illegal) marriage to singer Aaliyah when she was 15.

R. Kelly has been accused of sexual conduct multiple times over the last ten years but has avoided any convictions.

"With the Time's Up movement, with the #MuteRKelly [campaign], with Ava DuVernay, with really notable people saying 'This is not okay, ' we see a surging of people with power - such as Spotify's organization - saying 'Well, what does it look like for us to stay silent on these issues?'"

The 51-year-old R&B star has always been embroiled in accusations of sexual criminality but has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Spotify's new policy on hateful content has no set in stone guidelines for what does and doesn't count as harmfully offensive.

When we are alerted to content that violates our policy, we may remove it (in consultation with rights holders) or refrain from promoting or playlisting it on our service.

However, a second plank to the new policy, covering "content that is not hate content itself, but is principally made by artists or other creators who have demonstrated hateful conduct personally", has the potential to create more headaches for Spotify if mishandled. "Mr. Kelly for 30 years has sung songs about his love and passion for women", the singer's team wrote in a statement to CBC News.

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