It's all part of the the new "Hate Content and Hateful Conduct" policy announced on Thursday in which Spotify may remove or stop promotion of content that "incites hatred or violence" based on "race, religion, gender identity", etc.
"We are removing R Kelly's music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly", Spotify told Billboard in a statement.
Big kudos to Spotify for putting their foot down, now go ahead and delete R.Kelly and XXXTentacion from all your playlists. We don't censor content because of an artist's or creator's behaviour, but we want our editorial decisions - what we choose to program - to reflect our values. Kelly's music will still be available on the service but the decision to remove it from playlists means it will no longer be promoted.
Spotify has partnered with several rights advocacy groups to help them identify hate content including Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), the Southern Poverty Law Center, the International Network Against Cyber Hate, the Anti-Defamation League, Color Of Change, GLAAD and Muslim Advocates.More news: Disney reports quarterly net income of $2.94 billion
While R. Kelly's songs on Spotify might not violate the "hate content" rules alone, the company said egregious bad behavior by an artist can impact the decisions they make.
Spotify is the world's largest music streaming service, with 75 million paid subscribers.
On April 30, Time's Up started a campaign to #MuteRKelly and called for investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against the musician. Kelly has said the accusations have been "perpetuated by the media" in an "attempt to distort my character" and has denied holding women in a "cult".
(A number of women have accused Kelly of sexual abuse, though he has denied the allegations.) The publication also confirmed that rapper XXXTentacion had been removed from the high-profile Rap Caviar playlist. In 2001, a sex tape emerged that prosecutors alleged featured Kelly and an underaged girl.
Kelly's music does not apply - it has been defined by its explicit sexual nature - but he has also written love ballads, pop songs and even gospel music.