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Spotify is abandoning its controversial policy to remove artists from playlists based on questionable conduct, the music streaming service announced Friday.
"We don't aim to play judge and jury," the company said in a blog post. "We aim to connect artists and fans – and Spotify playlists are a big part of how we do that."
Spotify and CEO Daniel Ek have admitted the policy was worded vaguely and rolled out poorly. On May 10, it got R&B singer R. Kelly booted from Spotify playlists in response to accusations of sexual assault.
"While we believe our intentions were good, the language was too vague, we created confusion and concern, and didn't spend enough time getting input from our own team and key partners before sharing new guidelines," Spotify said.
Artists and listeners raised concerns that false allegations or earlier, youthful mistakes could negatively affect their standing on the popular on-demand music service.
"Our playlist editors are deeply rooted in their respective cultures, and their decisions focus on what music will positively resonate with their listeners," Spotify said. "That can vary greatly from culture to culture, and playlist to playlist. Across all genres, our role is not to regulate artists."
The company said it will continue to police hate content, which could include music and podcasts. Any content "whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation" will be removed from the site.