Exclusive: Troy Carter on rumors of a Spotify exit and the company’s controversial ‘hateful conduct’ policy


For the past week, rumors have swirled that Troy Carter was planning to step down from his post as Spotify’s global head of creator services after pushing back on the streaming service’s newly launched Hate Content and Hateful Conduct public policy.

Last week, the streaming giant announced it was rolling out the policy that would curb content that “expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.”

Embattled R&B star R. Kelly and controversial rapper XXXTentacion were the first causalities under the policy, and their music was removed from promotional playlists and algorithmic recommendations, a move that sparked a fervent response from the music industry.


“It’s important to us that our values are reflected in all the work that we do, whether it’s distribution, promotion, or content creation,” the company said in its decision.

Variety reported that within hours of Spotify’s announcement of the new policy, Carter — who left artist management to join the company in 2016 — called an emergency meeting to discuss the firestorm that came with its rollout. There were reports in the music trades that he had decided to resign after pushing back against the notion of Spotify’s “determining ‘values.’ ” The reports, according to Carter, aren’t true.

“I don’t think it’s a secret that everybody didn’t agree,” Carter told The Times before hosting a private company dinner at his home Thursday.

“Spotify is one of those companies where we debate about everything just because it’s such a diverse company,” he continued. “Everybody has different point of views. Everybody has different backgrounds.”

While Carter admits the policy is “still a work in progress,” he dismissed the “rumor mill” and growing whispers about an impending exit.

“I think [the answer] is pretty obvious: I’m hosting a [company] dinner at my home,” he laughed. “I invested in Spotify seven years ago. I’ve been on the other end of that phone with Daniel [Ek, Spotify’s CEO] during some of its toughest moments when I wasn’t at the company, and I’m still on the other end of that phone while I’m here.”


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