Spotify Removes R Kelly From Playlists & Tidal Accused of Inflating Streaming Numbers

In digital streaming news, Spotify has recently announced that they have removed singer R. Kelly from playlists on their streaming services. His songs and indeed, his whole catalogue has been removed from the streaming services playlists, such as on their mood-based playlists, branded playlists like ‘New Music Friday’, #ThrowbackThursday, and their flagship R&B playlist, ‘This is How We Do’.

This move comes after numerous rumoured allegations of sexual assault have been brought up against R. Kelly in recent months, running in tandem with the #MeToo movement to banish him. Not helping matters are Kelly’s previous (and infamous) escapades, such as peeing on that thirteen-year-old girl many years ago, plus reportedly having a harem of underage groomed sex slaves in his home, and all in all just being accused of being a pedophile by many people. These incidents, amongst other extremely bad PR mistakes have made the singer public enemy number one, and it’s why Spotify have decided to axe him from their playlists.

Jonathan Prince, head of Spotify content and marketplace policy, released this statement to Billboard: “We’ve decided that in some circumstances, we may choose to not work with that artist or their content in the same way – to not program it, to not playlist it, to not do artist marketing campaigns with that artist.”

Once again, R. Kelly has landed himself into a heap of PR trouble. Credit: CBC

Prince also cited “hateful conduct” and “something off-platform that is so particularly out of line with our values, egregious, in a way that it becomes something that we don’t want to associate ourselves with.”

Spotify reiterated their stance on R Kelly by stating, “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. 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.”

Spotify also cited to Billboard their policies on “race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability” as being liable for policing on the service.

In more streaming news, totally unrelated to Spotify and R.Kelly, Jay-Z, the owner of  the Tidal streaming service, have now been accused of inflating the number of streams on Beyonce and Kanye West’s music. This has now come to the light after Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) alleges that Tidal deliberately inflated streaming numbers for the album Lemonade by Beyonce, and for Kanye West’s album The Life of Pablo, by no less than hundreds of millions of plays.

Jay-Z and Beyonce, pictured above. Credit: The Virginian-Pilot

Music Business Worldwide (MBW) and the French news agency Agence France-Press (AFP), reported on the scandal first, but Tidal has denied the claims, calling it a smear campaign.

According to MBW, reporters from DN obtained a hard drive that allegedly contained manipulated TIDAL streaming data, which DN took to the Norway University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Center for Cyber and Information Security (CCIS) which produced a study after analysis.

After this, the DN discovered 320 million false plays of Lemonade and The Life of Pablo, affecting over 1.7 million Tidal users, according to Agence France-Press (AFP). Alleged false plays include one user who played The Life of Pablo tracks 96 times in one day, with 54 of them occurring in the middle of the night.

The study also showed users listening to multiple tracks at the same time, which is of course, physically impossible to do. Additionally, songs were played at suspicious times, in intervals of every six minutes, precisely down to the millisecond.

Jay-Z and Tidal could face serious consequences for this. Credit:

This now brings into question the amount of $2.5 million in streams for Lemonade, which was paid to Sony in April and May of 2016, as well the amount of $2.3 million in royalties paid to Universal from March and April 2016 for the TLOP streams.

Both Lemonade and The Life of Pablo were released exclusively on TIDAL in 2016, and Lemonade is still only available to stream exclusively on TIDAL.

The plot thickens for TIDAL, as they continue to deny these allegations that have been heavily reported on by Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv with the scientific studies conducted at the Norway University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Center for Cyber and Information Security.

Will anything come of these scientific studies against TIDAL? Only time will tell whilst they continue to deny this ever growing scandal.


Story by The Narrator

Featured Photo Credit: The Independent 

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