India.Arie had several reasons to request that her music and podcast be removed from Spotify in the wake of a slowly growing artist exit spurred by Neil Young‘s quarrel with the service over what he’s tagged as false and confusing COVID-19 information being spread by the steamer’s biggest podcast star, Joe Rogan.
In an interview slated to air on the syndicated Tamron Hall talk show on Friday (Feb. 4), the Grammy-winning singer explains why she’s asked that her albums and SongVersation pod be taken off Spotify. While Young’s move was focused on the potentially dangerous COVID misinformation spread by the comedian on his Joe Rogan Experience show — which Spotify reportedly spent $100 million to lock down — Arie explained that her decision was two-pronged.
“One is the Joe Rogan conversation and for me his language around race and some of the things I’ve seen and heard, but also coupled with that, there is the treatment of artists by Spotify,” she said, seemingly alluding to a recent episode in which Rogan hosted Canadian psychologist and conservative YouTube personality Jordan Peterson had a conversation in which the two white men held forth on questions of racial authenticity while making insensitive, racially charged comments about skin tone.
Arie also said her decision was based on what she said was the wildly unbalanced difference in pay between working musicians and Rogan. “And so artists are underpaid and Joe Rogan gets paid all this money and it’s hard for me to, these days, just sit back and go, ‘Oh, well, that’s how it goes,'” she told Hall. The singer said she made a commitment with herself to be more honest after reading life coach/sociologist Martha Beck’s 2021 book The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self.
“She challenges the reader to an integrity cleanse and it means telling the whole truth all the time and see what it will make of your life. And so I’ve been doing that since maybe around May, and so when this came up, I had to do it,” she said; at press time Arie’s music and podcast were still on Spotify and a spokesperson for the singer could not be reached for comment on when/if it would be taken down.
Arie also told Hall she was nervous because she feared that some people might conflate her reasoning with that of Young, as well as the other artists who’ve followed suit in solidarity, including Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash and Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nils Lofgren. She said she worried about judgement because her Spexit (a term coined by MusicREDEF writer/curator Matty Karas) was inspired by other factors.
“But also, it’s my truth. And it’s not always my job to educate people about how I feel, although I try,” she said. “I know that my truth is mine. And so I am working to have it [her music and podcast] pulled down.”
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said on Sunday (Jan. 30) that the service has updated platform rules and instituted a new approach to dealing with COVID-19 information, including adding a dedicated content advisory to podcast episodes that contain discussions about the virus. In addition to the above-mentioned artists, the band Failure, writer/social commentator and podcast host Roxane Gay, as well as author and niece of former president Donald Trump, Mary Trump, have asked for their songs/pods be removed from the service.
Watch Arie’s interview below.