Spotify’s Daniel Ek Criticizes Kanye West’s ‘Awful’ Antisemitic Comments, But Music Won’t Be Removed

The growing corporate boycott of Kanye “Ye” West after he made antisemitic remarks in several interviews has increased pressure on music streaming services to pull the rapper-turned-fashion mogul’s albums from their platforms.

On Tuesday (Oct. 25), Spotify CEO Daniel Ek addressed the issue in an interview with Reuters, making clear that Ye’s comments were “awful” but his music did not violate the streamer’s anti-hate policies. Ek added it was up to Ye’s label, Universal Music’s Def Jam imprint, to pull his music if they felt compelled to.

“It’s really just his music, and his music doesn’t violate our policy,” Ek told Reuters, adding, “It’s up to his label, if they want to take action or not.” Ek said that Ye’s antisemitic comments would have been pulled from Spotify if he had made them on a podcast or recording, as per their hate speech policy, but that the rapper hadn’t made such comments.

Def Jam owns the copyright to Ye’s recordings from 2002 through 2016. The New York Times, which cites an unnamed source, reported that Ye’s label G.O.O.D. Music is no longer affiliated with Def Jam. The rapper’s contract with his long-time record company reportedly expired with his 2021 album DONDA.

“There is no place for antisemitism in our society,” Def Jam said in a statement to Reuters.

After Ye made repeated antisemitic comments in interviews and tweets, Hollywood’s major players began publicly calling for a boycott of the rapper. WME chief Ari Emanuel directly called on Ye’s corporate partners, particularly Spotify and Apple Music, to stop collaborating with him.

Since Emanuel’s plea, talent agency CAA dropped Ye as a client, MRC Entertainment shelved a completed documentary on the rapper and Balenciaga, GAP and Vogue cut all ties with him.

On Monday, Ye lost his biggest corporate back, the sportswear giant Adidas, who ended their highly lucrative partnership with the Yeezy brand.

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Lars Brandle