Spotify was hailed for making the bold statement in removing content from R. Kelly and XXXTentacion from its promoted playlists, prompting a cry of censorship and even rumored dissent amongst the company. This week, the streaming service’s CEO said they made a mistake in doing and intends on restoring XXXTentacion’s music but will keep Kelly’s tunes off the playlist shelves.
Spotify reportedly rethought its controversial decision to ban certain artists from playlists based on their “hateful conduct” and moved to reinstate rapper XXXTentacion, but not another artist, R. Kelly. The initial announcement met with immediate backlash.
“We rolled this out wrong and could have done a much better job,” said Ek on Thursday night on stage at the Code Conference in a keynote Q&A.
Ek, who took personal responsibility for the botched rollout, deemed the policy too ambiguous and open to interpretation. But asked by Variety whether the policy was no longer in effect, he made it clear it was still up on the company’s website, though subject to future iterations.
He also made clear that Spotify never had any intention of targeting any one particular artist. “The whole goal with this was to make sure that we didn’t have hate speech,” said Ek. “It was never about punishing one individual artist or even naming one individual artist.”
The outlet adds that while Ek seemed to acknowledge the division at the comment, he hammered down saying that Spotify is electing to handle the matter eternally.