The recent controversy involving Spotify and popular podcast host Joe Rogan has been snowballing for over a week at time of writing, after a group of health and science professionals petitioned Spotify to remove Rogan’s podcast on claims that it is circulating misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. Since then, Neil Young and a host of other musicians and celebrities have taken issue with Spotify’s decision not to remove the podcast.
CivicScience gauged public sentiment on the topic. A recent survey of more than 2,880 U.S. adults finds that, unsurprisingly, the public is split over how Spotify should react. Among people aware of the issue, slightly more (40%) believe Spotify should remove the podcast from their platform than keep it (37%).
Rogan’s podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” is hands down one of the most listened to out there. Compared to a handful of other popular podcasts, including “The Daily” and “My Favorite Murder,” it ranks number one by a landslide, with 40% of survey respondents reporting they tune in.
While more of the Gen Pop (33%) uses Spotify to listen to music, the platform is still popular for podcast listening. Thirteen percent of respondents turn to Spotify the most often to listen to podcasts, second to YouTube, where you can also listen to/watch “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
Removing the podcast would likely have implications for Spotify. Spotify podcast listeners are twice as likely to feel Spotify should not remove “The Joe Rogan Experience” – more than 60% support keeping it while 21% feel it should be taken down.
Vaccine status is relevant to public sentiment. Spotify listeners in general are less likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccinated individuals are divided over the topic at hand – a greater percentage (49%) support removal of the podcast, but 28% believe the podcast should remain on Spotify and one-quarter are uncertain or don’t have an opinion. However, when it comes to people who are unvaccinated (and not planning to receive the vaccine), a strong majority (60%) favor keeping the podcast on the platform, while 19% feel it should be removed.
All eyes are on Spotify, as sides continue to be chosen over the issue. At a time of increasing polarization – and at a time when consumers want to support businesses that align with their values – Spotify finds itself in a highly unenviable position.