What just happened? Spotify has walked back its controversial and intentionally vague policy on hateful conduct following pushback from prominent figures in the music industry. The company does, however, retain the right to pull hateful content but has not yet enforced the policy.
Spotify on Friday announced revisions to its recently enacted policy regarding hateful content and conduct. The policy was intentionally vague to give Spotify some leeway with regard to interpretation but the move backfired and drew harsh criticism from some in the music industry.
In a press release on Friday, Spotify said it believed its intentions were good but the language was too vague which created confusion and concern. The company concedes it didn’t spend enough time getting input from its team and key partners before sharing the new guidelines.
Spotify’s initial policy had two parts. The first was related to promotional decisions in “the rare cases of the most extreme artist controversies.” Spotify now says its aim isn’t to “play judge and jury” or regulate artists. As such, they are moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct.
The second part of Spotify’s policy centered on hate content. Spotify said it does not permit content whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people based on their race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. As it has done in the past, Spotify will remove content that violates this standard.
“We’re not talking about offensive, explicit, or vulgar content – we’re talking about hate speech.” According to Billboard, no artists’ music – including those who were originally de-playlisted – has been removed by Spotify.