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Spotify’s ‘Hateful Conduct’ Policy Drags The Music Industry Into The #MeToo Moment

Spotify's recent policy addition highlighted both the company's power and the dangers of moral engagement.

Spotify's recent policy addition highlighted both the company's power and the dangers of moral engagement.

Last week, Spotify announced it was implementing a new policy in which it would stop promoting “hate content” and artists who engage in “hateful conduct” within its very powerful playlists and through its equally powerful suggestion algorithm. In the week since, the move has been greeted with celebration, derision and skepticism. Asked for a response this morning, a Spotify spokesperson wrote that the company was “not in a place where we can comment right now.”

Spotify is leveraging the considerable power it has cultivated in becoming the foremost enabler of music streaming (and a traffic cop to the many stakeholders — songwriters, record labels, publishers, promoters, managers, engineers — dotting the road) to define and impose a moral perspective, but the effect the policy will have on artists isn’t theoretical. “Spotify playlists, and Spotify charts, and Spotify plays,” access to which Spotify is restricting through the new policy, “have become the number one tool that labels and artists and managers are using in order to break artists and measure success,” Mark Mulligan, a music industry analyst, told Wired last year. Being added to a Spotify-sponsored playlist reportedly drove a 50 to 100 percent increase in streams for certain artists. This will have a direct economic impact on artists.

Apple, the world’s most-valuable company, and web radio giant Pandora have followed its lead.

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Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2018/05/16/611426272/spotifys-hateful-conduct-policy-drags-the-music-industry-into-the-metoo-moment

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