Spotify’s removal of R. Kelly from their curated playlists hasn’t negatively impacted his numbers. The Associated Press reports the controversial singer’s Spotify numbers have actually gone up in the aftermath of the policy, which removed his music due to the myriad of sexual abuse and misconduct allegations against him.
According to Nielsen Music, Kelly earned 6,676,000 streams from May 10 to May 16, which was the week of his removal from Spotify playlists. Before the company’s new policy was enacted, he was averaging 6,584,000 weekly streams for the year.
Nielsen Music’s numbers are calculated with data from Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, TIDAL and other streaming platforms. But Spotify wasn’t the only company distancing itself from Kelly. As first reported by Pitchfork, Apple and Pandora quietly removed him from their curated playlists as well.
Although Kelly’s streams haven’t experienced a downturn, other artists have been impacted by the hateful conduct policy. According to Billboard, the removal of XXXTENTACION’s “SAD!” from Spotify’s curated playlists resulted in a 17 percent drop in streams in the United States during the first week. His ? album still remains in the Top 15 of the Billboard 200.
Spotify’s policy has been met with mixed reactions since it was announced. The sheer amount of artists accused or convicted of crimes has raised questions about its practicality. The streaming service has said it will decide what to censor on a case-by-case basis.
“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,” Spotify said in a statement on its FAQ page. “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.”