With the dust settled from the controversy over Spotify’s ban on promoting artists like R. Kelly, its CEO admitted they messed up the rollout.
The streaming company received backlash after announcing its policy on hate speech and hateful conduct, which meant Spotify wouldn’t allow music from artists who contravene this to be promoted on its playlists or anywhere in its service.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told Recode’s Code Conference on Wednesday that they “rolled this out wrong” and that they “could’ve done a much better job” on communicating its new policy.
“The whole goal with this was to make sure that we didn’t have hate speech on the service, it was never about punishing one individual artist or naming one individual artist,” he said
Ek said there was too much “ambiguity” over how people interpreted the company’s stance, leading many people to think that Spotify was banning artists like R. Kelly outright.
“What we were trying to go after was around hate speech, it wasn’t being the moral police, about who did right or who did wrong,” he said.
“You get into tricky things about if people have actually been charged with something, have they actually been convicted of something, et cetera. That’s not our goal.”
Ek added that the company’s aim was to be “transparent” about its rules on artists, which are in line with the company’s values.
“If you are talking about being KKK and doing that kind of stuff, I think it’s pretty obvious that we don’t want you on the service,” he said.
Last week, a Bloomberg report stated Spotify has begun to backtrack on the policy that prevents artists from being promoted based on their personal misconduct. The report mentioned the company currently has no plans to reinstate promotion for R. Kelly.
Notably XXXTentacion, whose battery against a pregnant woman saw him singled out by Spotify for hateful conduct, would gradually have his music restored to playlists.