Spotify‘s CEO said Wednesday the music-streaming service could have done a better job informing the world about its playlist ban, conceding the company “screwed up.”
Earlier this month, Spotify initiated a new policy addressing hate speech and hateful conduct that lets the music-streaming service remove music or artists from its service or bury them without any promotion, like banning them from playlists. Under the new policy, it stopped promoting the music of at least two people: R&B star R. Kelly and rapper XXXTentacion. The penalty against XXXTentacaion, in particular, drew backlash from big names in Hip Hop like Pulitzer Prize-winner Kendrick Lamar and reportedly sparked a backlash among some of Spotify’s own employees.
Daniel Ek, Spotify’s chief executive, now says the implementation of the policy, especially in regard to Kelly, could have been handled better.
“I think we rolled this out wrong and could have done a better job communicating it,” Ek said Wednesday during an on-stage interview at Recode’s Code Conference, which is taking place this week in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. “The goal for this was to make sure we didn’t have hate speech on the service. It was never about punishing one individual.”
Kelly has come under heightened criticism lately as decades-long allegations of sexual misconduct, sometimes with underage women, took on a new tenor in the #MeToo era.
While Kelly’s and XXXTentacion’s catalogs remain on Spotify for streaming, and you can listen to or playlist any songs you like by them, the streaming service itself said it wouldn’t be promoting their material on what is arguably the most powerful single force in getting an artist’s music heard and getting that artist paid. Spotify reportedly has told music industry figures it will eventually resume putting XXXTentacion music on playlists.