Back in May, Spotify made the decision to no longer include R. Kelly’s music on its official playlists, saying in a statement, “We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly. […] We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values.” XXXTentacion’s music was also similarly removed, which prompted the rapper’s management to contact Spotify with a list of other controversial artists.
That is about as close as Spotify has come to removing Kelly’s music from the platform, but it looks like they’re about to make it easier for fans who want to avoid him (and any other artist of their choosing): Tech website Thurrott reports that an upcoming update to the Spotify app will allow users to block specific artists. Artists pages will include a “Don’t play this artist” button, and hitting that button will result in the message, “Okay, we won’t play music from this artist.” However, this will not block songs that the artist is featured on.
The feature has reportedly been tested with a select group of iOS users over the past few months, and it is not yet clear when it will be officially announced and rolled out to everybody.
In 2017, Spotify noted, “After serious consideration, we’ve decided not to offer blocking/ hiding/ or blacklisting artists or tracks on Spotify at this time.” Just yesterday, Spotify said that blocking specific artists “isn’t possible right now.” It appears that will change soon, though.