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Spotify criticised for promoting XXXTentacion's music after removal under old 'hateful conduct' policy

At the time of his death, the rapper was awaiting trial for false imprisonment, witness tampering, and aggravated battery of a pregnant woman

Clarisse Loughrey
Tuesday 19 June 2018 14:12
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Police cordon off car where rapper XXXTentacion was found killed by drive-by shooting

Spotify has been accused of hypocrisy for promoting XXXTentacion's songs in the wake of his death, having previously removed his music from custom playlists when enforcing their now abandoned "public hate content and hateful conduct" policy.

The 20-year-old rapper - real name Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy - was shot dead at a Deerfield Beach motorcycle dealership in Florida, in an apparent attempted robbery. He was pronounced dead on Monday evening at a Fort Lauderdale hospital, the sheriff's office said.

At the time of his death, the rapper was awaiting trial for false imprisonment, witness tampering, and aggravated battery of a pregnant woman. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges. Amongst his controversies, the rapper had also previously spoken about attacking a cellmate who he believed was gay.

He was amongst the artists who saw their music removed from Spotify's curated playlists under their hateful conduct policy, which was later dropped following criticism from music industry figures, who argued it was targeting specific artists.

In a blog post, the streaming service said the new guidelines announced in May “created confusion and concern”, adding it “didn’t spend enough time getting input from our own team”. The company said it was “moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct”.

XXXTentacion's songs were reinstated on Spotify's popular Rap Caviar playlist. After news of his death broke on Monday, Spotify added two of his tracks, "SAD!" and "Moonlight", to the top of said playlist, which has over 9 million subscribers. A note reading "Rest In Peace, XXXTENTACION" was also added to the top of the page.

Twitter users also began to point out that a newly-created playlist titled "This is XXXTentacion" was being promoted by Spotify on their Homepage and Browse sections, which led to some accusing the company of exploiting his death.


Spotify has been contacted for comment.

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