R. Kelly says Spotify playlist block is 'without merit'

By Wade Sheridan  |  May 11, 2018 at 11:13 AM
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May 11 (UPI) -- R. Kelly has responded to music streaming service Spotify announcing that it is removing the singer's catalogue from their playlists and algorithmic recommendations.

Spotify, which is still keeping Kelly's music on the service, made the decision after Women of Color of Time's Up joined existing online campaign #MuteRKelly in an effort to call out corporations with ties to the R&B hitmaker due to the sexual assault allegations he has faced over the years.

Kelly was accused of holding women against their will as part of an abusive cult in July, allegations that he has denied.

"We are removing R. Kelly's music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly. His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it," Spotify said in a statement on Thursday. "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. 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."

Kelly, responding through his representative, again denied the allegations of sexual assault and abuse and called out Spotify for their decision.

"Mr. Kelly for 30 years has sung songs about his love and passion for women. He is innocent of the false and hurtful accusations in the ongoing smear campaign against him, waged by enemies seeking a payoff. He never has been convicted of a crime, nor does he have any pending criminal charges against him," the statement said. "Spotify has the right to promote whatever music it chooses, and in this case its actions are without merit. It is acting based on false and unproven allegations. It is bowing to social-media fads and picking sides in a fame-seeking dispute over matters that have nothing to do with serving customers."

"Meanwhile, though, Spotify promotes numerous other artists who are convicted felons, others who have been arrested on charges of domestic violence and artists who sing lyrics that are violent and anti-women in nature," it continued. "Mr. Kelly falls into none of these categories, and it is unfortunate and shortsighted that Spotify fails to recognize this."

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