Socially Conscious Consumers Got Spotify to Change Its Tune

May 11, 2018

By Britt Terrell

Spotify's decision to remove the R&B artist R.Kelly's songs from parts of its streaming music platform was a considered response to consumers' demands that brands behave in a more socially responsible way.

"These social movements typically backed by large groups of young users are pressuring companies to take a stance," said Phillip Tracy, a tech writer for The Daily Dot.

According to a 2015 Nielsen report, 66 percent of consumers are willing to spend more if a product comes from a sustainable brand. Millennial customers are even more demanding ー 81 percent of millennials expect their favorite companies to make public declarations of corporate citizenship.

To appeal to those sentiments, some brands are responding increasingly quickly to online calls to action when new controversies arise.

Spotify made a statement this week when it responded to a #MuteRKelly movement that started after the singer was accused of sexually abusing women in a sex cult. Like the hashtag campaigns #MeToo and #TimesUp, the online effort around R.Kelly sought to hold the artist accountable in the marketplace.

Citing its new Hate Content and Hateful Conduct Policy, Spotify said it would no longer include R.Kelly's music in its algorithm and editorial-curated playlists.

Tracy said in an interview Friday with Cheddar that it's hard to say whether other streaming services such as Apple Music will follow Spotify's example.

Spotify has 75 million subscribers as of its first public earnings report earlier this month. Apple has 40 million.

For the full interview, click here.