Spotify Accused Of Profiteering After XXX Tentacion Murder

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It’s no secret that after the death of an artist, there’s an immediate interest in their work.

Hours after the deaths of musicians like Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, and Michael Hutchence of INXS, fans flocked to record stores to grab anything they could buy by those artists.

“It’s true that there’s an instant interest in performers right after their demise,” Psychologist Dr. David Levine tells Stereo Embers. “And part of it has to do with their work becoming instantly finite–there simply will never be more of it, so any extant copies get consumed–but the other dominating reason has to do with a deeper emotional component.”

When asked to expand on that component, Levine says: “When an artist we admire dies, possessing their work is a way of maintaining our emotional connection to them–or, if you will, keeping that connection alive. If, for example, a song by Michael Jackson was played at our wedding, or David Bowie’s “Heroes” was on in the car when we first kissed someone, those moments are kept alive in our brain by those songs. When those artists die, we feel that part of ourselves is in danger of being lost, so we do the natural thing, and that’s to try to possess their material in an attempt to preserve the part of ourselves impacted by them.”

Fair enough.

But with the murder of rapper XXX Tentacion, Spotify isn’t letting people naturally gravitate towards his music, they’re insinuating the late rappers’ work into their playlists immediately after his tragic death.

What’s the big deal with that?

Well, the big deal is that Spotify had little interest in XXX Tentacion’s music before his death. In fact, they had such little interest, they had initially banned the rapper from their service early this year when they announced that they wouldn’t carry the work of anyone accused of sexual assault. They reversed their position soon after, in spite of the fact that the troubled artist had several disturbing accounts of domestic violence levied against him and was awaiting trial for a list of accusations ranging from false imprisonment to aggravated battery of a pregnant woman at the time of his death.

Spotify instituted a hateful conduct policy, but pulled that policy on June 2 after a major industry backlash, which included Kendrick Lamar threatening to remove his music from the streaming service if they kept the policy in place. After a month in existence, Spotify ended their policy and wrote of its demise: “While we believe our intentions were good, the language was too vague, we created confusion and concern, and didn’t spend enough time getting input from our own team and key partners before sharing new guidelines.”

Spotify may have had a change of heart regarding their hateful conduct policy, but they had a real change of heart about XXX Tentacion, adding his music to their high-profile and decidedly taste-making RapCaviar playlist only hours after his death. A rather public display of profiteering off the work of an artist they never promoted has Spotify users crying foul all over social media.

“It’s grave-robbing,” wrote one fan on Twitter. “And it’s SO hypocritical.”

“Way to cash in, Spotify,” wrote another. “Shady move.”

Adding to the indignity of their move, Spotify also included a “Rest In Peace” heading to the RapCaviar playlist when XXX Tentacion’s music comes up.

The controversial rapper was shot dead on Monday (June 18) in South Florida while shopping for motorcycles.

He was 20.