After recent controversy over Joe Rogan’s racist podcast, Spotify has responded to heavy criticism. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said the company would invest $100 million on “licensing, development, and marketing” music and audio content from “historically marginalized groups.”

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Spotify To Invest $100 Million To Marginalized Voices

Rogan’s podcast has been the subject of controversy for the past few weeks after Neil Young pulled his music from the platform after accusing Rogan of spreading COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. Young’s move prompted other artists to pull their music as well, including India Arie after complaining about Rogan’s use of the N-word.

Over the weekend, Rogan apologized for using the N-word on his podcast after a video montage circulated by artist India Arie that showed him using the slur 24 times went viral.

It’s not my word to use,” Rogan said, calling it “the most regretful and shameful thing” he’d ever had to address.

Meanwhile, Spotify’s CEO made it clear that they are not silencing Joe Rogan, “I want to make one point very clear — I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer,” Ek wrote to Spotify staff. “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.”

According to Spotify’s Corporate Sustainability Report, there has been some growth in Spotify’s workplace diversity at the company over the last 4 years. Of their almost 7,000 employees worldwide, the representation of women has grown from 36% to 44%, Hispanic or Latinx  (US only) has grown from 5% to 7.8%, Black (US) and Asian representation in Spotify’s ranks has grown from 17% to 19%.

However, the top 5 podcasters on the platform include Joe Rogan ($30 million) , Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark($15 million), Dave Ramsey ($10 million). Dax Randall Shepard ($9 million) and Bill Simmons ($7 million) – none of these are representatives of “marginalized voices.”

Spotify Under Fire For Underpaying

Recently Spotify was under fire for fair payouts. The biggest digital streaming platform is catching major heat as organizations and artists unite to demand fair payouts for the featured acts on the billion-dollar service. In 2020, less than 1,000 of the 7 million-plus active musicians received $1 million or more through streaming from the service which also profits through advertisements and paid subscriptions.

Hip Hop Loses To KPop?

Hip-hop appears to be losing dominance on Spotify as KPop and other genres ascend. Drake may have reigned atop the Spotify streaming charts in previous years, but his dominance and that of hip-hop artists overall have slipped in 2021, falling behind KPop and Latin sensations, Bad Bunny, Taylor Swift, and KPop band, BTS. The only other rapper on the list is the late Juice WRLD, who closed it out at number 10.