When Spotify released its earnings report Wednesday highlighting the importance of podcasts to its business model, company officials said they don’t expect its subscriber numbers to be impacted by the changes. alleged that their most popular podcaster, Joe Rogan, spread misinformation about Covid -19 and vaccines.
The company has been embroiled in controversy since Neil Young removed his music from the streaming platform last weekcited Rogan’s podcast and called Spotify “the home of life-threatening Covid misinformation.” Joni Mitchell and several other artists and podcasters have followed the calls to boycott the company on social media. The official replied by publish the ground rules of the service and said that Spotify will begin adding advisory content to its coronavirus podcast.
But on an earnings call Wednesday afternoon, Daniel Ek, Spotify’s chief executive officer and co-founder, said that the company’s expectations for premium users in the current quarter do not anticipate “disturbing ” due to the “Joe Rogan Experience” controversy.
“All in all, what I’d say is, it’s too early to know what the impact might be,” Ek said on the call. “And often when we have had arguments in the past, those arguments are measured in months, not days. But I feel good about where we are in relation to that and it is clear that the top trends are still very stable. ”
Ek defends the measures the streaming service is taking to combat misinformation, and talks about “supporting better expression while balancing it with the safety of our users.” “.
“I think the important part here is that we don’t change our policy based on one creator, nor do we change it based on any media cycle or calls from anyone. different,” he said. “Our policies have been carefully drafted with input from many internal and external experts in the field. And I believe they fit our platform. And while Joe has a huge audience — he’s literally the number one podcast in over 90 markets — he has to adhere to those policies as well.”
Spotify has been facing pressure over Rogan’s podcast since late December, when a coalition of 270 medical professionals publish an open letter criticized an episode featuring an interview with Dr Robert Malone, who was previously banned on Twitter for repeatedly posting misinformation about Covid-19. The letter said Rogan has a history of spreading “false and harmful assertions to society” about the virus, including discouraging vaccination among young people and promoting a therapeutic approach. unproven treatment for the virus, and called on Spotify to “establish an open and transparent policy to control misinformation. ”
The situation culminated in Young’s announcement that he was removing his catalog, prompting a number of artists to follow, including Mitchell and guitarist Nils Lofgren. R&B artist India Arie said on Tuesday she will also pull her music from the service, citing Rogan’s Comment on the race. And on Wednesday, some of Young’s former bandmates, David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills, asked their record label to remove their recordings from Spotify.
Feedback also came from some of the company’s other premium podcast hosts. On Saturday, Brené Brown, the influential author and host of the Spotify-exclusive podcasts “Unlocking Us” and “Dare to Lead,” said she will be taking a break from releasing new episodes. On Monday, another popular podcast on Spotify, “Science Vs.,” said will stop publishing new episodes other than those to “combat the misinformation being spread on Spotify.“In recent days, the podcast hosted Mary L. Trump, Roxane Gay and Scott Galloway has also said it will remove its shows from the platform or stop publishing.
The company reported strong overall performance for Q4 2021, including year-over-year growth in both paid subscribers – up 16% to a total of 180 million – and monthly active users – up 18% to a total of 406 million. It also said ad revenue hit a record 15% of total revenue. Podcasts – which Spotify says now have more than 3.6 million episodes on its platform – are a key part of its revenue strategy.
Whether that trajectory will continue is uncertain. The company’s shares fell after trading hours.
“Obviously, there have been a couple of notable days here at Spotify,” Ek said on the call. He added that “there is no doubt that the past few weeks have brought a number of learning opportunities.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/02/arts/music/spotify-earnings-joe-rogan.html Spotify defends Joe Rogan’s handling of controversy amid uproar