Spotify Reveals Hit on Subscribers Due to Joe Rogan Controversy and Protests

Spotify has revealed its taken a hit on subscribers, due to the recent Joe Rogan podcast controversy and subsequent protests. According to The Daily Mail, Spotify's stock price is down 44% over the past year. The outlet also noted that the company's stock price fell another 11% after Spotify stated that it would not provide annual guidance. Notably, ahead of the new numbers, Spotify had announced that it gained and 18 percent rise in subscribers, as well as a 40 percent increase in advertising revenue, in the final quarter of 2021.

The big dip in business stems from the controversy surrounding Spotify, iconic folk/rock artist Neil Young, and Joe Rogan's podcast. Young publicly stated that he would pull his music from the service if they didn't remove Rogan's podcast, which Young opposes due to concerns of social and political misinformation. Spotify refused to remove Rogan's podcast, resulting in Young's music being removed. In an open letter on his website, Young wrote, "Spotify has recently become a very damaging force via its public misinformation and lies about COVID. Most of the listeners hearing the unfactual, misleading and false COVID information on Spotify are 24 years old, impressionable and easy to swing to the wrong side of the truth." He later added in a follow-up letter, "I support free speech. I have never been in favor of censorship."

Young continued, "Private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information. I am happy and proud to stand in solidarity with the front line health care workers who risk their lives every day to help others." Notably, many other music artists have followed Young in his Spotify exit, including Joni Mitchell and India.Arie.

Regarding the controversial situation, Eve 6 frontman Max Collins spoke with the Washington Post and offered some very specific thoughts regarding Spotify's practices. "People are finally blasting an interrogation lamp on Spotify," said the Eve 6 bassist and singer, who has long been a critic of the way Spotify handles artist compensation for streaming content. "It's my hope that whatever side of the culture war, the Rogan-Neil Young thing, a person may land, that people can be sympathetic to the struggle of working artists trying to get fair pay."