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India.Arie opens up about her decision to leave Spotify amid Joe Rogan controversy

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India.Arie says her decision to leave Spotify goes deeper than the controversy over podcaster Joe Rogan.  She says she’s protesting how the music streaming giant mistreats its artists.

Appearing on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Monday, India said removing her music from the platform was a matter of “dignity and integrity.”  She explained, “Spotify is not only the biggest player, but they’re also the lowest payer… You listen [to a song of ours], we get .003 percent to .005 percent of a penny.  A fraction of a penny, that’s what we get.  It has been making the professions of producer and songwriter unlivable for a lot of people.”

The “Steady Love” singer hinted that Spotify isn’t open to negotiating increasing that pay, despite it being the top streaming platform. She said it instead tells artists, “This is what we decided.  This is what you get.”

“The labels and Spotify and streaming platforms together are making those decisions,” added India, and noted the business model not only pushes artists out of the music industry, it weakens their voice.

On the topic of the controversial Joe Rogan and the video compilation she made of the Spotify podcaster saying racist jokes and slurs on his show, the Grammy winner didn’t mince words.  “He was being consciously racist and it makes me wonder what he talks like behind closed doors,” she said of Rogan, who has since apologized.

“It got a rise out of people. That’s why he would say it…He knew that was inappropriate,” India said in reference to Rogan “repeatedly” using the n-word: “I think that is being racist.”

“By doing that, you embolden [other racists]… And, now, we’re in trouble as a society,” she added, noting the “power” of his platform that reaches a “huge listening audience.”

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