In January 2022, artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulled their music from Spotify following Joe Rogan’s repeated COVID misinformation, blaming the streaming service for amplifying his voice and rewarding him with a lucrative contract. R&B singer India Arie followed suit that February, taking issue not just with Rogan’s COVID stance, but with “The Joe Rogan Experience” host’s problematic “language around race.”
Arie’s move last year came after several clips of him disparaging Black people and repeatedly using the N-word went viral. “What I am talking about is RESPECT — who gets it and who doesn’t,” Arie said of her decision to walk away. She also pointed out that musicians like her get “pennies” for their streams, while “The Joe Rogan Experience’s” exclusive deal with Spotify was reportedly north of $200 million. “This shows the type of company they are and the company that they keep,” Arie said. “I’m tired.” She still accepted his apology, adding that she doesn’t believe in cancel culture.
Over a year later, the “Brown Skin” crooner’s catalog is back on the platform after what she deemed a “successful protest.” She took to social media to share her honest thoughts about the results the last year has produced. “I wanted three things out of this protest,” she said, noting that she never wanted Rogan canceled. “I wanted him to take accountability, I wanted Spotify to take accountability, and I wanted to see systemic change in the music industry.” She explained that the Swedish audio giant changed its terms and conditions and removed 70 episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” most of which predated the pandemic. While her tunes are available again for users to listen to, she acknowledged that there’s more work to be done to ensure streaming services pay artists their fair share.
She also took some time to address those who criticized her decision a year ago. “All the media outlets and even ‘friends’ who talked sh*t about me, let’s see if you care NOW that my stance impacted change,” Arie stated. “I WISH we had a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY AROUND THE USE OF THE N-WORD. Sadly we let people get away with it. I can’t change that. But the way MY DIGNITY is set up! I STOOD FOR ME. AND IT WORKED.”