Spotify CEO Comments on Controversial Content Policy: “We Rolled This Out Wrong”

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Spotify CEO Comments on Controversial Content Policy: “We Rolled This Out Wrong”

It’s been a rollercoaster of actions and reactions for Spotify since they announced their new hateful conduct/hateful content policies in early May. The company declared, in a move to block both “hateful content” in music and artists who promote “hateful conduct,” that some artists’ music would be removed from the streaming platform’s editorial and algorithm-generated playlists. Among the artists were “Ignition” auteur R. Kelly, who has been accused of assaulting women, among other misconduct, and rapper XXXTentacion, who has been charged with multiple felonies, including assaulting a pregnant woman. While some praised the platform for taking a stand, artists were peeved, employees reportedly threatened to leave the company, and an explosion of think-pieces grappling with the negatives littered the Internet. Thursday, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek admitted that the whole process could have gone a lot smoother, Variety reports.

“We rolled this out wrong and could have done a much better job,” said Ek during a Q&A at the Code Conference Thursday.

Last week, Spotify took a few steps back from the controversial new policy, floating among industry executives that there would be potential for reinstating the slandered artists’ music to their playlists. As of this writing, the company’s policies still stand, as posted on the Spotify website, though Ek notes the policy is subject to change.

Ek also emphasized during the panel that Spotify’s intention was not to target individual artists—a concern that reportedly prompted Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar to weigh removing his music from the service—but rather to monitor hate speech on a larger scale.

“The whole goal with this was to make sure that we didn’t have hate speech,” Ek said. “It was never about punishing one individual artist or even naming one individual artist.”

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