Streaming company Spotify will be restoring music from popular rapper XXXTenaction to playlists after a massive backlash in reaction to its latest policy, and seems likely to change that policy in the coming weeks or months. The policy in question is meant to police the site's music collection by rooting out and punishing artists who are thought to have engaged in heinous acts. XXXTenaction was accused of battery against a pregnant woman, but no conviction has been reached at this time. The court of public opinion seems to have dictated Spotify's actions in two facets; with the original determination that XXXTenaction was fit to punish under this new policy, and the decision to restore his music to playlists after a large-scale backlash. According to a report from Bloomberg, some insiders said that Artist Relations Head Troy Carter planned to depart the company over the policy, but relented when CEO Daniel Ek told him that the policy would be changed to avoid situations like this in the future.
The backlash for the removal of XXXTenaction from playlists included multiple record labels and artists, and even threats to remove music from the site coming from big names like Kendrick Lamar. The new policy was created in reaction to the recent #MeToo social movement, meant to encourage victims to come forward with accusations of abuse against the rich and powerful, with a focus on women wronged by men. Though many have praised Spotify's intent with this policy, critics have said that it could amount to censorship. XXXTenaction's own people, at one point, produced a list of artists who fall under similar accusations but have not been punished by Spotify. Others have questioned Spotify's authority to morally police the music sphere, given its wide influence.
Spotify's move reflects a changing sociopolitical climate in the tech world, a change that Alphabet was one of the first big companies to feel in a major and public capacity when it fired an employee who published a memo internally that contained views and calls to action that could be seen as extremely conservative. The company found itself in the middle of a web-wide social firestorm, with the jilted ex-employee, James Damore, getting directly involved in the ensuing chaos. Eventually, Alphabet made its stance on Damore's actions firm, and the matter largely died down. That evidently won't be the case with this policy from Spotify, since the CEO has allegedly promised to change it.