Perhaps you’ve heard about Spotify removing R. Kelly songs from its platform, what with R. Kelly being a disgusting perv and whatnot. Spotify also stopped streaming songs from some dude who goes by “XXXTentacion” too, presumably for also being a disgusting perv.
book burning music banning is only just getting started, it seems.
According to this, it’s not enough for some folks that Spotify has implemented a “hate content and hateful conduct policy” that allows it to shut down songs that are violent or hateful. Now feminist groups are demanding that they want MORE artists’ songs removed from the platform. Because #themtoo.
There’s a feminist group called Ultraviolet – and they sent a letter to Spotify explaining that R. Kelly and XXXTentacion aren’t the only problem performers.
“These two men are not the only abusers on your platform. We implore you to take a deeper look at the artists you promote.”
And then? Ultraviolet asked Spotify to remove music by Eminem, Nelly, Don Henley of the Eagles, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Chris Brown, rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, Ted Nugent, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“Every time a famous individual continues to be glorified despite allegations of abuse, we wrongly perpetuate silence by showing survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence that there will be no consequences for abuse. That has a cultural effect far beyond one individual artist.”
I don’t disagree that there’s a cultural effect. I can’t tell you often Daisy and I lament the fact that we live in a culture that rewards terrible behavior all the TIME. See: Cashmeousside. See: Kardashians. The examples are endless. I HATE that our culture brings fame and fortune to people who are so absolutely horrific. But that’s part of what living in a free society is all about. Some people choose to glorify these idiots, and other people lament the fact that those people choose to glorify those idiots.
Freedom. Free markets. It’s how they work.
And banning music? Isn’t that crossing a line?
As the sourcelink details, all the musicians listed in Ultraviolet’s letter have, in fact, done some pretty skeevy things.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lead singer, Anthony Kiedis, admits to having sex with a girl he knew to be 14 years old in his autobiography Scar Tissue. (He was 23 at the time, and the incident later became the inspiration for the song “Catholic School Girls Rule.”) Brown was convicted of battering his then-girlfriend Rhianna in 2009. Eminem pled guilty to a weapons charge in 2001. 6ix9ine received three years’ probation for charges stemming from a film he made of himself performing sexual acts with a 13-year-old. Don Henley, Steven Tyler, and Ted Nugent have all either admitted or been accused of sleeping with underage girls.
And as the sourcelink also details, if you really want to take a deep dive into this issue, then you need to start removing Jerry Lee Lewis songs and David Bowie songs and basically songs from any musician who’s enjoyed an underage groupie ever. And that list is looooooong, you guys. Even a couple of the Beatles had some baggage. So what are we going to do? Just ban every song that’s ever been performed by anyone who’s ever done anything bad ever? Is this really where we want to go?
Here’s an idea. If you disapprove of these musicians, don’t buy or stream their music. The end.
But Spotify has gotten themselves into a pickle now. They banned R. Kelly and XXXTentacion. So now they can’t very well stop there, can they? They’ll have to apply their newfound standards fairly, else be accused of unfairness. They’ve decided they want to be morality police, and the consequence of that is that they’ll have to be morality police.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that the behavior displayed by all of those artists is OK. It’s not OK for musicians to sleep with 14 year old girls. It’s gross. But is it the responsibility of music streaming platforms to judge the behavior of musicians? Or is it the market’s?