Less than a month ago, Spotify announced a new hate content and hateful conduct policy which introduced some changes to what kind of content could be found in the app.
One part of the announcement regarded hate content, with the company saying it does not tolerate "content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence", and that it might refrain from promoting or playlisting - and even remove - content that violated the policy.
It was the second part of the announcement that was more controversial. Spotify also said that, even when the content itself doesn't contain hate messages, the company may still refrain from promoting it if the artist had exhibited harmful or hateful conduct such as "violence against children and sexual violence". Because of this policy, singer R. Kelly and other artists saw their content removed from the service's playlists, as there have been a number of accusations against him over the years.
Today, Spotify has released a new statement on the matter following public backlash. The company starts by saying that the language used was "vague and left too many elements open to interpretation" and clarifies that it doesn't "aim to be judge and jury". As such, the company says it's abandoning the policy around artist conduct:
Our playlist editors are deeply rooted in their respective cultures, and their decisions focus on what music will positively resonate with their listeners. That can vary greatly from culture to culture, and playlist to playlist. Across all genres, our role is not to regulate artists. Therefore, we are moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct.
The announcement made today also touches on the hate content policy, reiterating the service's stance on the matter, though it does clarify that it doesn't target "offensive, explicit, or vulgar content", and that the focus is on hate speech.
Despite generating some controversy with the original announcement, Spotify has been working on improving the user experience on its service, including a refreshed offering for non-paying users announced in April.