Recently, Spotify introduced a new “hate content and hateful conduct” policy, indicating it will not tolerate hateful music or behavior from the artists on the platform. This has since lead a women’s group, among others, to call for music streaming service to ban a variety of artists, including Eminem, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Chris Brown.

The policy

In its FAQ section for artists, Spotify provides information on their new policy, claiming, "We do not permit hate content on Spotify, and remove it whenever we find it." However, this policy extends to more than just musical content but also to artist's offstage behavior.

Therefore, it is not only a song’s content that could get a performer removed, but the policy also encompasses how they act outside of their art. This policy implies that if a singer is accused of some sort of sexual misconduct or abuse, they can be banned from the platform.

Spotify is no stranger to using its platform for good and, so far, the service has removed the likes of R.Kelly and XXXTentacion, who have both recently come under fire after accusations of abuse surfaced, from official playlists. However, if Spotify is serious about their new policy, they might have to remove a lot more.

Ultraviolet’s ban list

Women’s group UltraViolet has been incredibly vocal about holding the streaming service accountable for the policy, asking that they go further.

Though in a letter to Spotify, they praise the company for its initial actions, Ultraviolet clearly wants them to do more.

In the letter, Shauna Thomas, the Executive Director of the group, wrote, “[R. Kelly and XXXTentacion] are not the only abusers on your platform. We implore you to take a deeper look at the artists you promote.”

The letter goes on to list the other abusers found on Spotify.

This list includes some of the most popular and/or respected musical artists: Eminem, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Don Henley of the Eagles, Nelly, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, and Ted Nugent.

UltraViolet believes that by allowing the artists a space on Spotify, it contributes to the glorification of abusers, which in turn “perpetuate[s] silence by showing survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence that there will be no consequences for abuse.”

The accused

Each of the artists on UltraViolet’s ban list has either been accused of or admitted to, doing horrible things.

Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Don Henley, and Ted Nugent, for example, have all been open about or accused of, having sexual relationships with minors. Perhaps most famously, Ted Nugent, now known for his very conservative politics, became the legal guardian of a 17-year old girl he was in a relationship with in 1978. The two could not marry due to the age difference, so this seemed like the next best step, though now people consider it to be incredibly sleazy. This information is no secret either: it is easily found on the singer's Wikipedia page.

Artists like Eminem and Chris Brown, on the other hand, are under fire for violent lyrics and actions. Eminem’s lyrics are known for either including hate speech or discussing his desire to murder certain women in his life, while Chris Brown notoriously abused fellow singer Rihanna when the two were in a relationship.

It cannot be denied that the artists UltraViolet wants to be removed from Spotify have done bad things. What is up in the air though, is how Spotify will react.

What should Spotify do?

Since introducing its new hate policy, Spotify has begun a noble act. As a company that likes to maintain a positive cultural influence, they have started the process of clearing its platform of abusive people, which is great. However, the music industry is full of despicable people, and if they intend to strictly follow their policy, their catalog will start looking pretty sparse.

Once you look hard enough at your favorite artist, it is likely you’ll find some serious dirt that could be the cause of their removal from Spotify.

John Lennon of the Beatles was a domestic abuser, Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13-year-old cousin, and several rappers have been charged with violent crimes.

UltraViolet is, of course, right. The artists on their list have done horrible things. It is essentially hypocritical to remove R.Kelly while ignoring the bad that others, such as Ted Nugent, have done. But should all of these musicians be banned? Or should it merely be up to the individual on whether or not they choose to listen to them?

Going forward, it will be interesting to see how Spotify responds.