R&B icon India.Arie is the latest artist to begin the process of pulling her music from Spotify, citing popular podcaster Joe Rogan’s “language around race.”
In a social media statement, she pointed to Neil Young’s stand against the streamer, writing, “Neil Young opened a door that I MUST walk through.” She added, “I believe in freedom of speech. However, I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons OTHER than his Covid interviews. FOR ME IT’S ALSO HIS language around race.” She didn’t identify a specific example, though Rogan recently drew criticism for a conversation about whether academic, author, and radio host Michael Eric Dyson counted as Black.
As Arie explained, the fact that Spotify is “paying musicians a fraction of a penny? and HIM $100M? This shows the type of company they are and the company that they keep.”
The saga began when Young issued an ultimatum to Spotify last month, saying, “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.” His decision came as public pressure mounted against the platform, especially after hundreds of scientists, doctors, and healthcare workers wrote an open letter calling The Joe Rogan Experience “mass-misinformation events.” Since Young left Spotify, artists including Joni Mitchell, Nils Lofgren, and Graham Nash have followed his example.
Spotify has made some small concessions, promising to add disclaimers to episodes that touch on COVID-19. As for Rogan, he pledged to “balance things out” and “research topics” in a video statement, though he has continued to spread misinformation over social media.