Spotify has spent less than 10 percent of its $100 million Creator Equity Fund in its first year, Bloomberg reported. The fund’s purpose is to bolster diversity in music and podcasts through licensing, developing, and promoting work by marginalized creators.
Last year, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced the creation of the fund(Opens in a new tab) following controversy surrounding podcaster Joe Rogan, who has a $200 million exclusive deal with the music streaming service. Rogan has used the n-word(Opens in a new tab) and other racist language on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience and has spread misinformation regarding COVID vaccines as well. Employees and musicians like Neil Young called on Spotify to cut ties with Rogan, but instead, they removed dozens of episodes(Opens in a new tab) and committed $100 million to the equity fund.
The figure of $100 million was meant to be symbolic, as Rogan was rumored to receive $100 million from the platform — but later, it was revealed Rogan is actually paid double that.
The money was supposed to be distributed over three years, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg, but due to a lack of structure and shifting priorities at the company, that plan hasn’t materialized. According to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg, the fund was still determining its 2023 budget at the start of the year and hadn’t yet determined priority projects.
A Spotify spokesperson told Bloomberg that over $10 million of the fund has been spent, however. They cited GLOW(Opens in a new tab), an initiative to support LGBTQ creators, and Nailing It(Opens in a new tab), a podcast hosted by three Black women, as avenues where the money has been spent. Additionally, this week Spotify announced a partnership with Spelman College(Opens in a new tab), a historically Black women’s college, to provide scholarships for students interested in podcasting.
The spokesperson told Bloomberg in an emailed statement: “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…We are able to empower and uplift underrepresented voices around the world.”