DENVER (KDVR) — Denver native and Grammy Award-winning R&B singer India Arie is removing her music from Spotify as calls grow for the app to drop podcast host Joe Rogan.
Arie said she wants to be removed from the platform after clips of Rogan repeatedly using the N-word recently resurfaced online. Known for anthems of self-love with hit songs like “Video,” Arie said she is not with the hate she’s heard coming from Rogan.
“I empathize with the people who are leaving for the COVID disinformation reasons, and I think that they should,” Arie said in a video posted to Instagram. “I also think Joe Rogan has the right to say what he wants to say. I also think I have the right to say what I want to say.”
Last week, rock legend Neil Young decided to have his music removed from the app over concerns about COVID-19 misinformation on Rogan’s shows. Now, others are following suit after Arie brought the N-word controversy to the forefront.
“There’s nothing I can do to take that back,” he said in part of his social media response. “I wish I could. Obviously, that’s not possible. I do hope, if anything, this can be a teachable moment.”
Spotify artist payouts meager
With a poll finding nearly 20% of the app’s users quitting the service, some experts said the damage is done — but with innocent artists taking a hit, too.
“To independent artists, unfortunately, it’s a detriment,” said Storm Gloor, an associate professor of music industry studies at the University of Colorado, Denver. “The more people that leave Spotify, the less chance they have of getting their ears to listen to their music. So in that respect, it’s not good.”
Arie also raised concerns about Rogan’s contract with the company. The platform has exclusive rights to his show for $100 million.
“Spotify is built on the back of the music streaming, so they take this money that is built from streaming, and they pay this guy $100 million, but they pay us .003% of a penny? Just take me off!” Arie said.
Gloor said Spotify is known for paying artists little for their streams.
“They [Spotify] certainly let millions of artists who may not have an opportunity to get their music heard, get their music heard. But at the end of the day, they are in the business of advertising and signing up new members,” Gloor said. “If they can get a podcaster, a commentator who can rile up audiences, who can get them to tune in, however they do it, unfortunately, that increases Spotify’s ad revenues.”