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As more and more artists continue to pull their catalogues from Spotify, the streaming platform giant is facing increasing pressure to take action against Joe Rogan.
What started off as a boycott of Spotify by artist Neil Young for Rogan’s spread of misinformation regarding COVID-19, has grown into more artists joining the boycott after clips resurfaced of Rogan using the N-word on his show during a 12-year span.
Grammy award-winning artist India Arie said that she was removing her music from Spotify because of Rogan’s “language around race.”
Joe Rogan says N-word “taken out of context”
Over the weekend Rogan released a six minute video where he acknowledges his use of the N-word and said the clips posted were “taken out of context.”
“It’s not my word to use. I am well aware of that now, but for years I used it in that manner,” Rogan said. “I never used it to be racist because I’m not racist.”
“I’m making this video to talk about the most regretful and shameful thing that I’ve ever had to talk about publicly,” Rogan’s video began. “I know that to most people there is no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word, never mind publicly on a podcast. And I agree with that now. I haven’t said it in years.”
Rogan said his team removed around 70 episodes from Spotify spanning the last 12 years which contained clips of him using the N-word as well as other problematic language. Rogan signed a $100 million deal with the streaming service for them to have exclusive rights to his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.
CEO of Spotify responds to lack of action
“Spotify is built on the back of the music streaming, so they take this money and pay him $100 million and pay us .003 cents per stream – just take me off,” Arie said in an Instagram post.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said in a message to employees over the weekend that Rogan’s racist language was “incredibly hurtful” and that Spotify supported the removal of dozens of Rogan’s episodes.
“While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realize some will want more,” Ek said in the note. “And I want to make one point very clear — I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer.”
Spotify has dug their heels into the sand and look to support their $100 million investment into Rogan. As more artists continue removing their catalogues from the streaming platform, we will see how long Spotify defends its position.
“We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope. Looking at the issue more broadly, it’s critical thinking and open debate that powers real and necessary progress,” Ek said in his message.