Spotify Boss Speaks Out On Kanye West's Comments And Why The Service Won't Remove His Music

Kanye West has experienced a slew of business losses in the aftermath of his controversial interview on Drink Champs. During the discussion, the rapper made anti-Semitic comments along with other statements that have been condemned by the likes of Howard Stern and more. Major corporations have since cut ties with him, with much of the public calling for others to do the same. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, whose service houses West’s musical catalogue, is one of those who’s under pressure to take action. Amid that, the exec is speaking out on West’s comments as well as explaining why the company won’t be removing the embattled performer’s tracks.

When Daniel Ek discussed Ye’s comments this week, he referred to them as “just awful.” Ek, however, also stated to Reuters that his company would not be removing the artist’s music because the tracks themselves don’t violate the organization’s anti-hate speech policies. The CEO further explained that there would only be grounds for removal if the anti-Semitic remarks were featured on a podcast or recording that’s present on Spotify. Ek says that at this point, only one entity has the power to take the tunes down: 

It's really just his music, and his music doesn't violate our policy. It's up to his label, if they want to take action or not.

Def Jam holds the rights to Kanye West’s recordings between 2002 and 2016, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter. The company, whose partnership with West ended in 2021, has spoken out against the star’s recent statements. But, as of this writing, the music mega company has not opted to have the songs taken off Spotify or any other music service. 

This would seem to be one sort of bright spot for Kanye West, who was dropped by Adidas earlier this week. The German sportswear giant had a massive deal with the “Stronger” performer, it reportedly experienced a short-term loss of $256 million after the agreement was dissolved. The business decision also resulted in West losing his billionaire status, as the deal reportedly made up $1.5 billion of his net worth. Other companies like Vogue and Balenciaga are also among those who have parted ways with him. CAA also dropped him as a client. When West addressed his comments, he doubled down and claimed that all of the blowback was proving his point that society tries to “mute” those whose views don’t align with the majority. 

The Grammy winner also finds himself wrapped up in a major legal situation right now. During the same Drink Champs interview, he shared falsehoods regarding the death of George Floyd. Shortly after, Floyd’s family filed a lawsuit against Ye and his partners and are aiming to sue them for $250 million. The suit could also include Candace Owens, as the rapper evoked her controversial documentary about Floyd while making the comments. On top of all this, the Air Yeezy creator has also been in divorce proceedings with Kim Kardashian, who is reportedly handling him differently now that he’s in the news again.

Only time will tell as to whether Def Jam will seek to remove Kanye West’s music from Spotify or any other music streaming services. How West himself will further respond to his flow of financial setbacks remains to be seen as well.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.