Spotify has stopped promoting the work of R&B singer R Kelly because of sexual abuse allegations against him.
But he’s just one of many artists accused, charged or convicted over a wide range of misconduct. Others, including Chris Brown, remain on the platform’s curated playlists.
So, we asked you: is Spotify’s decision the right move, or is it hypocritical? Is it both? And as a fan, is it still possible to separate the art from the artist and enjoy the music?
Here’s what you had to say:
“There is no art I would give up for the actions of the creator. Art is necessarily separate from the creator and the two should not be conflated â€¦ R Kelly may be a bad person, but if you don’t enjoy his Ignition Remix, I’d start to doubt your humanity.
“Fundamentally, while I understand and support Spotify’s decision to not actively promote these artists, judging art by the artist is a slippery road to go down.” â€” Adam S
“[The] person & their art [are] very separate. Dangerous & sinister & cynical to have corporations whose own behaviour is often questionable act unilaterally as our censors & moral guardians.” â€” John M
“There is complete separation in my mind between artist and their art. I do not and will not stop listening to music that I like because of something an artist has done. When art is in the public domain, people create their own relationship with the work of art.” â€” Nick M
“I think it’s extremely important to be able to separate the art from the artist â€¦ It takes away the idea that if the art is good, the artist is intrinsically a good person [which has no direct correlation whatsoever].
“This ‘art = artist’ connection that Western society holds so dear now drives the alcoholic-artist stereotype into truth, resulting in a whole demographic of creators and performers who are suffering under the constrains of current societal beliefs.” â€” Tom H
“Can’t watch Louis CK stand-up anymore based on his behaviour. But can’t give up reading Dr Seuss to my kids even though I recently heard he was quite racist.” â€” Peter C
“I can’t watch Gossip Girl after allegations of rape were made against Ed Westwick. [The actor denies them.] I adore that show, but can’t bring myself to look at that rapist’s face.” â€” Christine R
“I don’t think it is appropriate to separate the artist and the art â€¦ When the public recognise and disengage from artists who have done the wrong thing, their absence creates space for others who haven’t done anything wrong.
An easy example is Weinstein. Removing a man with such power creates ample space for other directors/producers/actors who may have been previously blocked out.” â€” Jaedyn E
“I try to avoid anything to do with Chris Brown, and I don’t watch anything from Woody Allen or Harvey Weinstein on any form of streaming platform, as I don’t want to contribute to their continued income, and ability to create and disperse on such a large scale.” â€” Ellen C
“I still like singing Rolf Harris songs but think about what he was convicted of every time I do. I wonder constantly, ‘Is it okay that I still like this? What would people think? Does it matter?’
“I don’t know the answer to any of those. But I do know that if you are going to treat one artist that way, you have to apply that to all the similar cases.” â€” Rob H
“I think it’s very difficult to admit that some of the best art comes from extremely flawed people and that while I personally dislike these two artists and won’t support their music â€¦ I can’t apply the same standards with John Lennon.
“I guess it’s a personal decision, but streaming services have a right to apply these standards if they feel that it’s not right to go on supporting an artist they don’t agree with. They’re not the gatekeepers of society as a whole and people who can look past the artist are free to enjoy the art on other mediums.” â€” Alex C
“Part of the issue is that none of us are ‘free from sin’ as it were, and music artists are of course like us with vices. The difference is that if artists come out and apologise for behaviour â€” or, if their art has reflected socially unacceptable things, then [they change] their art â€” they should be allowed to continue.
“Things get more interesting when the artist is dead or from a different time, but stuff from the past can still be enjoyed if one is aware of the context and also acknowledges that, even if it was acceptable then â€¦ such views are not acceptable now.” â€” Aidan J