India.Arie is leaving Spotify, citing their exclusive hosting of Joe Rogan’s podcast and his “language around race” as the reason she pulled her music.
In an announcement on her Instagram last night (January 31), she shared the details behind her decision to leave the streaming giant – following on from Neil Young’s exit due to Rogan spreading “misinformation” about COVID-19.
“I have decided to pull my music and podcast from Spotify,” she shared. “Neil Young opened a door that I must walkthrough. I believe in freedom of speech. However, I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons other than his COVID interviews.”
The singer-songwriter went on to explain that it wasn’t just the COVID misinformation that made her choose to distance herself from Spotify and Rogan. “For me it’s also his language around race,” she said.
India.Arie did not specify which conversation about race on Rogan’s podcast she was referring to, but a 2021 clip from The Joe Rogan Experience where the host discusses race with guest Jordan Petterson has received new attention this week after it was shared by Media Matters.
During the podcast episode, Rogan said: “Unless you are talking to someone who is like 100 per cent African from the darkest place where they are not wearing any clothes all day and they have developed all of that melanin to protect themselves from the sun, even the term Black is weird.”
The artist also cited Spotify’s pay for artists as a reason for leaving. “What I am talking about is respect who gets it and who doesn’t,” she said. “Paying musicians a fraction of a penny? And him $100M? This shows the type of company they are and the company that they keep. I’m tired.”
In the now-deleted letter, he went on to write about how many Spotify was responsible for the spread of misinformation.
“With an estimated 11million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence,” Young said. “Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.”
Ultimately, Young pulled his music from the platform and since then artists like Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash have also left Spotify in solidarity.
Over the weekend, Joe Rogan finally publicly responded to artists removing their music, saying that he was “sorry” if he “pissed them off” – as well as promising to “to do my best in the future to balance things out.”
Young also moved to Amazon, where he gave out free four-month subscriptions to the service for fans.