Spotlight on Spotify

February, 2022

What does the controversy surrounding Spotify and Joe Rogan tell us about the future of media and brands?

Horizon Media’s WHY team analyzed online conversation and surveyed our proprietary Finger on the Pulse panel (1,000+ adults 18+; February 8-14) to gauge social buzz, awareness, and changing listening behaviors around Spotify in the wake of the Joe Rogan controversy.

Here’s what we found:

  • Awareness of the situation is now widespread (only 13% are completely unaware), but most people (62%) at least somewhat agree with how Spotify has handled the situation.
  • Among Spotify’s actions to address the situation, the creation of a COVID-19 content advisory and investment in content from historically marginalized groups both received high approval, with the former being most popular among Democrats (70%) and current Spotify users (79%), while the latter received high marks from current paid Spotify users (78%).
  • There remain small but vocal groups on both ideological sides unsatisfied with Spotify’s actions: on the left, those who won’t be happy until they “take Rogen off completely and ban all racist speech and anti-COVID information,” and on the right, those who feel Spotify has caved to the “woke mob.”
  • A variety of other audio platforms (Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, Tidal) stand to gain a share of the 14% of Spotify users that say they have left or are leaving the platform, as 6 in 10 of them are open to alternatives.

What does this mean for the future of media? Click “Download PDF” below to access the full report which includes additional survey data and three key truths with culturally-informed implications for brands.

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