Is Chris Brown somehow less violent and ‘hateful’ than R. Kelly and XXXTentacion? That appears to be the determination at Spotify, where Brown was added to a heavily-subscribed playlist — just days before the company announced its hardline ‘Hateful Conduct Public Policy’.
In total, ‘Get Turnt’ has nearly 3.8 million followers and is the 12th largest playlist on Spotify. Which means any song included in that playlist is going to get serious plays, not to mention massive exposure in front an engaged audience. According to playlist-tracking firm Chartmetric.io, Chris Brown’s ‘Pills & Automobiles’ was added to ‘Get Turnt’ on May 3rd, just 7 days before the company announced its ‘Hateful Conduct Public Policy‘ on May 10th.
But ‘Get Turnt’ is only one several adds onto various highly-ranked playlists. In fact, on the same day, Spotify also added Chris Brown to ‘Most Necessary’ (1.66 million followers), according Chartmetric.io’s tracking data.
Even more surprising is that Spotify added Brown to several highly ranked playlists on May 10th, which is the exact same date that the company announced its ‘Hateful Conduct Public Policy’. The May 10th additions include ‘Signed XOXO’ (1.22 million followers) and ‘Hip-Hop Central’ (572,000 followers).
Chris Brown has been convicted numerous violent crimes, including felony assault. He is outright banned in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK based on repeated episodes involving violence and sexual assault. He is currently battling a lawsuit from a woman who says she was gang-raped by Brown’s friends at a party hosted by the singer. And course, he’s repeatedly punched a woman in the face (Rihanna).
Importantly, there have been no removals recorded.
Spotify did not respond to an inquiry regarding Chris Brown.
Last week, Spotify publicly announced that R. Kelly would be stripped from all its playlists, essentially depriving the artist any serious promotion on the streaming platform.
Moments later, rapper XXXTentacion was removed from the heavily-trafficked Rap Car playlist, which has nearly 9.52 million followers. The move was designed to punish XXXTentacion for allegations assaulting a pregnant woman, among other assault charges (sexual or otherwise).
Rap Car is Spotify’s third-largest playlist, which makes any inclusion (or removal) a serious deal.
Bill Cosby and Louis C.K. were next, with both removed from highly-ranked comedy playlists. Bill Cosby was recently convicted aggravated indecent assault, and has been battling dozens accusations drug-inducted rape against women for years.
Louis C.K. admitted and apologized for masturbating in front numerous women, though importantly, the comedian sought permission in all the incidents.
That includes ‘Power Workout,’ which has more than two million followers. All those high-ranked playlists are constantly being updated, which means Spotify has been actively making decision to keep promoting Brown’s music.
Of course, there’s another reason why Chris Brown might be given preferential treatment: cash (lots it). Despite repeated assaults and atrocious criminal convictions, Brown remains a seriously popular artist with millions fans. Removing the very ‘hateful’ Chris Brown makes complete sense according to Spotify’s new policy, but it would cause the platform to lose lots users. It would also alienate major partners, including Chris Brown’s label, Sony Music Entertainment.
Guess Spotify can afford to kick R. Kelly and XXXTentacion f its highly-ranked playlists, because they don’t matter as much financially. R. Kelly is decades past his prime, and XXXTentacion is ultimately a rising rapper. So they can be booted without Spotify feeling the impact.