R Kelly has reportedly seen an increase in Spotify streams, despite being removed from official featured playlists amid his sexual assault scandal.
Last year, R&B singer Kelly was accused of running an “abusive and controlling cult” of young women. This March, R&B performer Kelly was accused of grooming a 14 year-old girl to be his sex “pet”. Then, in April, Dallas police confirmed they were investigating claims that Kelly gave a woman a STD and plied her with drugs and alcohol when she was 19. He has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.
While keeping his music on the service, Spotify then confirmed that they would be “removing R Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations”, seeking to “not actively promote it”. Apple Music and Pandora soon followed and vowed to do the same. This follows in the wake of the #MuteRKelly movement.
However, as Associated Press reports, the week of the band (May 10-May 16) Kelly’s streaming numbers hit 6,676,000 up from his average 6,584,000 weekly streams.
“Frankly it’s not important in this context whether people are listening to his music or not, what’s important is that Spotify is holding itself to the standard that they themselves established and they live up to it,” said co-founder and executive director of the women’s advocacy group UltraViolet, Shaunna Thomas.
She added: “To argue that these numbers reflect the common consensus about whether people want to be paying for his music and helping him profit off the type of music he creates and the type of person he is, I think it’s very early in the game to suggest that.”
It was also reported by The New York Times that XXXTentacion‘s music has been pulled from Spotify’s playlists too. The rapper has been accused of domestic abuse in the past. He however, has seen his hit “SAD!” lose 17% of streams over the last week.
Spotify’s decision comes as part of the streaming service’s new Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy, which aims to promote “openness, diversity, tolerance and respect”.
The policy notes that: “When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator”.