Spotify will invest $100 million in the licensing, development, and marketing of music and audio content from historically underrepresented creators, its CEO Daniel Ek has said.

Coincidently, controversial podcaster Joe Rogan had signed a $100 million licensing deal with Spotify in 2022 for providing exclusive content.

“I want to make one point very clear — I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer. 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,” Ek wrote to Spotify employees.

Spotify signed ‘The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan’s podcast, to an exclusive, multi-year $100 million deal in May 2020, making 11 years of content available only on the platform, reports TechCrunch.

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Earlier, Ek, under fire from critics inside and outside the company over its partnership with podcaster Rogan, said in a memo to employees that it was “deeply sorry” for how the controversy over the podcast host has affected them.

After the company’s removal of 70 past episodes of the ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ amid Rogan’s use of the N-word and racially charged language numerous times on his show, the CEO signaled that Spotify does not plan to terminate its deal to distribute the podcast.

The Swedish music streaming company also reported its fourth-quarter (Q4) results for 2021, taking its paid subscribers to 180 million globally.

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Monthly active users on the platform grew by 18 percent (on-year) to reach 406 million.

Advertising represented 15 percent of Spotify’s revenue in the fourth quarter (October-December period) 2021.