Earlier this month Spotify announced that it would be removing R. Kelly and XXXTentacion’s music from its flagship playlists due to a new policy against “Hate Content & Hateful Conduct.” Spotify’s website defines Hate Content as “content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.” R. Kelly has been accused of sexual violence and running a “sex cult” by multiple women over the past few years and XXXTentacion is known for frequent violence and brazen treatment of suicide in his music and videos. But some people have been questioning if Spotify’s new policy is singling out artists of color.
XXXTentacion’s “SAD!” was removed from Spotify playlists including the wildly popular RapCaviar, causing the song’s streams to drop. According to Billboard, US streams for “SAD!” have decreased 17 percent each day since the policy launched. Per Billboard:
In the six days since XXXTentacion’s “SAD!” was removed from Spotify’s playlists including RapCaviar, where it held prominent placement, the track’s streams dropped 17 percent per day in the United States on average. That continued rate of decline, Billboard estimates, could cost the rapper as much as $60,000 in revenue in a year from — roughly equivalent to the United States’ median household income — from one song on one service in the U.S. alone. In the four days after “SAD!” was removed from Spotify’s playlists (May 10-13), its on-demand audio streams dropped 9 percent across all streaming services in the U.S. compared to the four days prior (May 6-9), according to Nielsen Music. Radio play for “SAD!” also began declining after its Spotify de-playlisting, although no stations appear to have removed the track from rotation altogether.
R. Kelly’s streaming numbers, however, have actually increased. AP reports, “Before the announcement, he averaged 6,584,000 weekly streams for the year. But from May 10 to May 16 he garnered 6,676,000 streams for the week.”
Earlier today TMZ reported that R. Kelly is being sued by a woman accusing him of sexual battery, false imprisonment, and failure to disclose an STD.