According to reports, there has been little immediate negative impact since streaming giant Spotify removing Kells from its playlists.
Streaming numbers for R. Kelly have remained intact a week after Spotify announced it had removed the R&B singer’s music from its playlists, citing its new policy on hate content and hateful conduct. Spotify made the bold declaration on May 10, but R. Kelly’s streaming numbers are relatively the same with some small growth. Before the announcement, he averaged 6,584,000 weekly streams for the year, but from May 10-16, he garnered 6,676,000 streams for the week, according to Nielsen Music. (The Hollywood Reporter)
A few days ago, music executive Steve Stoute shared his personal issues with streaming giants like Spotify not playing fair in banning artists like R. Kelly.
“When I seen XXXTentacion and R. Kelly get pulled off of playlists on Spotify, I thought, at that moment in time, ‘Where does this go?’ Are you doing this because, are they convenient or is this policy? That’s the problem. Don’t do anything. Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right? … It’s actually unfortunate that Spotify is now the guy standing in front of all this, when other streaming services have followed suit. Don’t we always separate the art from the artist? Haven’t we always done that? So, if you’re going to make it a policy, then I have to start going through the list and now it’s not convenient, because now we gotta be like, ‘How about this, we’re f*cking not playing Michael Jackson.’ I mean, we’re just not.” (Hot 97)
Recently, Top Dawg Entertainment’s Punch weighed-in on streaming services censoring musicians.
As for the new policy itself, Top Dawg Entertainment President Punch responded, “Whoa. Are they censoring the music? That’s dangerous. It’s a super-sensitive topic; a conversation needs to be had. There are way too many variables.” This was underscored by multiple reports of demands from activists to remove other artists from playlists; the organization Ultraviolet, for example, called for both Chris Brown and Eminem to be similarly moved off Spotify’s main real estate. (HITS Daily Double)
Earlier this month, buzz developed about Apple Music and Pandora low-key censoring musicians.
Now, a source close to the matter tells Pitchfork that Apple Music also begun to stop promoting R. Kelly in featured playlists over the past several weeks. The decision was made quietly, and it pre-dates Spotify’s announcement. Kelly’s music has been pulled from Apple Music-curated playlists such as “Best Slow Jams of the 90s, Vol. 1” and Vol. 2. (Kelly is prominently featured in the artwork for the playlists, but his music is no longer in them.) Seven R. Kelly-centric playlists (including “R. Kelly Essentials,” “R. Kelly: Influences,” and “Inspired by R. Kelly”) are still on the streaming service. (Pitchfork)