India.Arie Discusses Why She Placed Music Back on Spotify: ‘Cause I Want my Checks’

India.Arie Discusses Why She Placed Music Back on Spotify: ‘Cause I Want my Checks’

India.Arie Discusses Why She Placed Music Back on Spotify: ‘Cause I Want my Checks’

Last year, in a protest against Spotify, recording artist India.arie removed her music from the streaming platform in part because the company had paid actor turned podcaster Joe Rogan $200 million. More than that, it was also to protest the rate at which Spotify was paying its Black artists and artists in general. A year later, her tunes can be accessed on the streaming service once again and she expresses to Billboard why it was taken off and the reason it’s currently on Spotify.

Last month, the Brown Skin singer posted a message to her Instagram account alerting her fanbase that the streaming platform is once again playing her song library. She expresses to her followers that she wasn’t fighting Rogan but engaged “in a public battle with Spotify.”

 

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In an exclusive interview with Billboard, she goes into length to discuss the reasoning behind both decisions to remove and then place her catalog back on Spotify. Dignity was at the core of her removing it.

“It was in protest. I’ve been in the music industry for 24 years. I signed my record deal in 1999, and I know too much about how racism functions in the music industry to be comfortable with what I saw. 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, period – we all know. Spotify said it to me: Someone called me after I took my music down and said, “You know, Black music does the most streams.” I’m like, “I know that.”

She goes on to say that knowing that statement as a fact, Spotify just ups and decides to pay an exorbitant amount of money to someone like Rogan who is known to use racist language. She felt it was disrespectful to so do while paying Black artists a minuscule amount in comparison.

“My dignity could not stand it.”

The decision to go back to Spotify took place when the royalty rates were altered.

“Something big did change for me where I started getting these royalties payments. I’ll be getting my first ones this year. But also, [NMPA president/CEO] David Israelite won the lawsuit where [the royalty rate for songwriters will be increased from 10.5% to 15.1% over the course of stream payments from the years 2018 to 2022], which is huge when you’re getting a fraction of a penny.

“So when those two things shifted, I put my music back up. Cause I want my checks. And not only do I want my checks, I deserve my checks. There’s still not gonna be enough. And there’s still so much that needs to be changed in the music industry for it to be humane, really. But I stood up for myself and I got some shift, and I want my checks, period.”

India.Arie Discusses Why She Placed Music Back on Spotify: ‘Cause I Want my Checks’

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