India.Arie says she left Spotify because of its “treatment of artists,” not Joe Rogan

Though in a new interview she did criticise Rogan for being what she claims is "consciously racist"

India.Arie has clarified her reasons for leaving Spotify, after she became one of many artists to boycott the service in recent weeks.

When she first pulled her music from the service earlier this month, Arie cited their exclusive hosting of Joe Rogan’s podcast and his “language around race” as the reason she left Spotify.

Neil Young opened a door that I must walkthrough,” she wrote on Instagram, explaining how was following on from Neil Young’s exit from Spotify due to Rogan spreading “misinformation” about COVID-19 on his podcast.

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“I believe in freedom of speech. However, I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons other than his COVID interviews,” she said at the time.

Now, in a new interview with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, Arie has discussed how Spotify’s royalties scheme and business practices also influenced her decision.

Asked if Rogan was her enemy by Noah, Arie said: “My conversation has been about Spotify and its treatment of artists.

“I have to say that asking for my music to be pulled from Spotify in protest doesn’t actually serve me,” she added, “but I did it in protest just because I felt like my dignity was being … I felt like I was being disrespected.”

Discussing royalty payments artists get from Spotify, Arie explained: “What happens is, they say, ‘Well, this is just how it is; this is just what you get paid. But the labels and streaming platforms are making those decisions. And so they’re telling you, ‘This is what we’ve decided, this is what you get’.

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“You listen [on Spotify], we get .003 to .005 percent of a penny,” she added. “It’s been making the professions of producer and songwriter unliveable for a lot of people. A lot of people are tired of even having the debate of whether or not someone should get paid for their work.”

Discussing Rogan, she added: “I have learned in my life to make room and forgiveness for people who are unconsciously racist, because our whole society is built on racist concepts — so if you’re born into it, if you’re not actively working to not be racist, then you have some of it in you.

“If you know you’re doing it and you keep doing it, I would say that is a racist. For me, when I think about Joe Rogan, I think that he is being consciously racist.”

India.Arie joined a number of other artists who have also asked Spotify to remove their music because of comments made by Rogan on his podcast. This started with Neil Young making his exit due to Rogan spreading “misinformation” about COVID-19, with artists like Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash following in solidarity.

Arie said that Young’s voicing of his concerns encouraged her to come forward with her complaints. The protest from the many musicians that have followed suit resulted in Spotify losing $2billion in market value.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek responded in an official statement on January 30, saying that Spotify would be adding COVID-19 content advisories to all relevant podcast episodes.

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