India Arie has returned to Spotify to collect what’s hers.
During her interview with Billboard, she clarified that her decision to take her music down in the first place was out of her “own dignity,” as well as a protest against how Spotify paid $200 million to a podcaster who uses racist language against the Black community yet Black music brings in the most streams.
However, a year later, Arie says she witnessed changes as a result of her protest and came back to claim her money.
“Something big did change for me where I started getting these royalties payments,” Arie told the outlet. “ 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.”
She continued: “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.”
Although Arie’s music has made its comeback to Spotify, she revealed that the company failed to take initiative to have a discussion with her about how it can support Black creatives.
“I reached out to them again towards the end of last year and they were like, ‘Well, that’s behind us. We don’t wanna talk about it,’” she said. “When they started making some of the shifts that we saw, like taking some 70 episodes of Joe Rogan’s podcast down – also, they agreed to pledge 100 million dollars towards podcasters of color. That was their language. I wanted it to [specifically] be Black podcasters, ‘cause there’s a difference. And so I tried to reach out to them about that. They didn’t wanna talk about it. Nobody ever called back.”