Joe Rogan-Spotify controversy bubbles: India Arie will remove music

DENVER (KDVR) — Denver-born R&B singer and Grammy Award winner India Arie is removing her music from Spotify amid growing calls for the app to remove podcast host Joe Rogan.

Arie said she wanted to be removed from the platform after clips of Rogan repeatedly using the N-word recently resurfaced online. Known for her self-love anthems with hit songs like “Video,” Arie said she wasn’t with the hate she heard coming from Rogan.

“I sympathize with people who leave because of COVID misinformation, and I think 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 remove his music 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 fore.

Spotify’s CEO says he won’t be removing Rogan’s content from the service. Rogan apologized.

“There’s nothing I can do to go back,” he said in part of his social media response. “IF only I could. Obviously it’s not possible. Hopefully, if anything, this can be a teachable moment.

Spotify artist payouts are meager

With a poll revealing that nearly 20% of app users are leaving the service, some experts said the damage was done, but innocent artists were also taking a hit.

“For independent artists, unfortunately, it’s a detriment,” said Storm Gloor, associate professor of music industry studies at the University of Colorado Denver. “The more people who leave Spotify, the less likely they are to be heard to listen to their music. So in that regard, it’s not good.

Arie also raised concerns about Rogan’s contract with the company. The platform owns the exclusive rights to its show for $100 million.

“Spotify is built on the back of music streaming, so they take that money that’s built from streaming, and they pay this guy $100 million, but they pay us 0.003% of a dime? Just take me away! said Arie.

Gloor said Spotify is notorious for paying artists low for their streams.

“They [Spotify] certainly leave millions of artists who may not have the opportunity to have their music heard, to have their music heard. But at the end of the day, they’re in the business of advertising and signing up new members,” Gloor said. “If they can get a podcaster, a commentator who can piss off the audience, who can get them to tune in, but they do, unfortunately it increases Spotify’s ad revenue.”

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