Joe Rogan’s controversial podcast on Spotify has done little to prompt users to leave the service. Based on app store data, users are still using the streaming service even after Rogan backlash and Russia’s exit.
Spotify’s earnings grew by 15% in the first quarter. Despite Russia’s exit and the loss of 1.5 million Russian users, Spotify’s premium subscribers rose by 15% in the first quarter to reach 182 million.
Ad-supported users also grew by 21% to reach 252 million.
In early 2022, some popular musicians like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young pulled their songs from Spotify to protest its alliance with Joe Rogan, a controversial podcaster, who used his platform to disseminate COVID-19 misinformation.
Even amidst that and the #deletespotify campaign on social media, the Spotify app disclosed that its competitors’ streaming apps weren’t having a boost from its PR headache as its app had continued to get millions of weekly downloads, larger than others.
In other words, Spotify’s earnings showed that the news headlines concerning Rogan that dominated early 2022 didn’t actually affect its business.
Spotify beat on almost all metrics, with overall monthly active users of 19% year-over-year to an unprecedented 422 million by March-end.
Also, its gain rose by 24% to reach €2.66 billion, even above the €2.61 billion estimates.
Spotify revealed that Europe and Latin America contributed to its user growth in the first quarter, which helped to balance Russia’s exit loss.
Spotify stock, however, came down on weaker projections of 187 million premium subscribers in the second quarter against the 189.4 million estimate, plus a lower gross margin of 25.2% against the expected 27%.
The streaming firm disclosed that it’s anticipating another loss of 600,000 subscribers following the Russia service closure. Presently, the stock is down at 11%.
More so, the streaming company’s podcast footprint grew in early 2022, from 3.6 million total podcasts in the 4th quarter to 4.0 million currently on the platform.
The rise in monthly active users engaged with podcast content equally outnumbered overall monthly active user growth. The podcast listening rates rose in the double-digits year-over-year.
Spotify plans to launch “User Choice Billing” with Google
In another development, Spotify is planning to launch “User Choice Billing” with Google that would permit Android users to pay via Spotify’s payment system rather than using Google Play Billing.
The company disclosed the launch of call-to-action cards, an interactive ad format to prompt podcast listeners to take some action. Actions like clicking a button to “shop now” while streaming.