India.Arie‘s explaining her decision to put her music back on Spotify. The singer left the platform last year because it hosts Joe Rogan‘s podcast, despite his “language around race,” and because of its treatment of all, but especially Black, artists.
Speaking to Billboard, India said she pulled her music off Spotify in protest and “in the name of my own dignity.”
“I’ve been in the music industry for 24 years … and I know too much about how racism functions in the music industry to be comfortable with what I saw,” she said. “And so knowing that Black music sells most of the music, and just how important Black people are in the [music industry], and in the creation of music … Knowing that Black music does the most streams [and how] streaming has deeply affected people’s ability to make a living as songwriters, and then they just throw it in our face that they’re given [sic] this man who uses racist language $200 million — for me, my dignity could not stand it.”
India said she has “watched people’s checks dry up” since the introduction of streaming platforms, which she says gives most of the money to record labels. She notes a payment then goes to Spotify, before the label and streaming services pay the artist whatever they deem the value of a stream.
Despite that, India’s decided to return mainly because of two recent changes: She’ll begin getting royalty payments this year, and National Music Publishers’ Association President/CEO David Israelite won a lawsuit that increases songwriters’ royalty rate from 10.5% to 15.1% for stream payments between 2018 and 2022.
“When those two things shifted, I put my music back up,” she said. “Cause I want my checks. And not only do I want my checks, I deserve my checks.”
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