R. Kelly’s music removed from Spotify playlists

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(Reuters) – American R&B singer R. Kelly’s music was removed from playlists and recommendations on Spotify, the streaming service said on Thursday, following a campaign to boycott the singer who has been accused of sexual misconduct.

Singer R. Kelly arrives at the 41st American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Kelly, one of the most successful R&B singers of the past two decades, is the target of an online #MuteRKelly boycott campaign that gained new attention last week when it was adopted by the Time’s Up anti-sexual harassment movement.

Kelly, 51, has repeatedly denied the accusations.

The decision to stop actively promoting the singer’s music falls within a new policy that better reflects the company’s values, Spotify Technologies SA said in a statement.

“We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions – what we choose to program – to reflect our values,” said Spotify, whose 75 million paid subscribers make it the world’s largest music streaming service.

“When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator,” it added.

The action will affect Spotify-owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations, the company said. Kelly’s music will still be available on the service but the decision to remove it from playlists means it will no longer be promoted.

Messages left seeking comment with the singer’s representatives and his record label RCA, were not immediately returned.

The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer has denied accusations of sexual misconduct that have dogged him for decades, including a claim he was keeping a household of young women in a “cult” atmosphere.

He was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008.

But Time’s Up last week issued a statement calling on companies associated with his music business to cut ties with the singer.

The move to quit promoting R. Kelly’s music came on the same day that Spotify unveiled a new hate content and hateful conduct policy aimed to remove or refrain from recommending music that “promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual.”

Spotify has in the past removed content related to neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Reporting by Eric Kelsey in Los Angeles and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; editing by Bernard Orr and David Gregorio

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