Study finds 19% of Spotify users have unsubscribed or plan to over Joe Rogan controversy

A further 18.5 per cent will cancel their plans if more music is removed, a new study claims

A new study has found that 19 per cent of Spotify users have cancelled their subscriptions since the controversy around Joe Rogan’s podcast broke out.

In January, hundreds of scientists and medical professionals asked Spotify to address COVID-19 misinformation on its platform, sparked by comments made on The Joe Rogan Experience. The 270-plus members of the science and medical community signed an open letter, which called Rogan’s actions “not only objectionable and offensive but also medically and culturally dangerous”.

Following the publishing of that letter, Neil Young demanded his music be “immediately” removed from the platform, with many high-profile artists like Joni Mitchell, David Crosby and Graham Nash following suit.

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Now, as Variety reports, a consumer poll from Forrester Research has found that 19 per cent of the streaming service’s customers have since cancelled their subscriptions, or plan to in the near future. Although 54 per cent of responders said they have no intention of cancelling their plans, another 18.5 per cent said they would consider cancelling if more music was removed from the platform.

Spotify, Amazon, and Pandora reportedly proposing even lower streaming royalty rates
Credit: Yu Chun Christopher Wong/S3studio/Getty Images.

On Thursday (February 3), Spotify boss Daniel Ek said it was “too early to know” what impact the row surrounding Rogan’s podcast would have on the company’s future. Since the controversy began, Spotify’s shares have fallen by more than 10 per cent and, on January 30, it was reported that the platform had lost more than $2billion (£1.5bn) in market value.

“Usually when we’ve had controversies in the past, those are measured in months, not days,” Ek told Spotify’s investors. “We don’t change our policies based on one creator, nor do we change based on any media cycle or calls from anyone else.”

Spotify has since announced that it will add COVID content advisories to all relevant podcast episodes. Listeners will be directed to a resource hub with links to information from experts and “links to trusted sources”.

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