In 2022, popular media personality Joe Rogan was criticized for the use of racial slurs and racially charged language in several episodes of his Spotify-backed podcast. In response, Spotify made the decision to remove 70 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience. The tech company also launched a $100 million fund dedicated to supporting “the licensing, development, and marketing of music (artists and songwriters) and audio content from historically marginalized groups.”
“I am committing to an incremental investment of $100 million for the licensing, development, and marketing of music (artists and songwriters) and audio content from historically marginalized groups. This will dramatically increase our efforts in these areas,” Ek wrote in an internal memo.
“While some might want us to pursue a different path, I believe that more speech on more issues can be highly effective in improving the status quo and enhancing the conversation altogether.”
Nearly 14 months later, reports from multiple outlets have highlighted the lack of attention brought to the fund. According to a report from Variety, Spotify is “behind schedule in hiring an eight-person staff to oversee the project.” Additionally, a report from Bloomberg has indicated that less than 10% of the fund has been used and no priority projects have been identified by Spotify.
Spotify has not provided a public comment regarding the matter. Instead, the company has pointed to its recent initiatives like “Glow” and partnerships with Spelman College.
“The Spotify Creator Equity Fund is dedicated to a variety of initiatives that help elevate and support an inclusive and diverse portfolio of artists and creators on the platform,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to Variety.
“We are able to empower and uplift underrepresented voices around the world.”