Just as a growing list of artists including Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, and David Crosby have followed Neil Young’s lead by removing their music from Spotify, it turns out a significant number of the streamer’s customers are taking their listening elsewhere, too. According to a new consumer poll by Forrester Research (via Variety), 19 percent of Spotify users have canceled their subscription — or plan to in the near future — in response to the controversy surrounding podcast host Joe Rogan.
As a refresher, Rogan — whose The Joe Rogan Experience is the most-streamed Spotify exclusive podcast — has become a hotbed of misinformation about COVID-19, among other nonsense. Spotify CEO Daniel EK has doubled down on his decision to keep ties with Rogan, prompting Young and other artists to take their music off the platform in protest.
Despite the debate, Forrester’s study also found that 54 percent of current Spotify users have no intention of canceling their subscription, while 18.5 percent said they might cancel if more of their favorite artists also pulled their music from the platform (your move, Taylor Swift and BTS). About 8.5 percent of those surveyed said they considered switching music streaming services, but they thought Spotify’s features were too good to pass up (we understand; the thrill of Spotify Wrapped day is tough to top).
Of course, this report should be taken with a grain of salt: Another Forrester study in September 2021 found that only 32 percent of US adults said they would actually follow through with boycotting a brand, so it’s tough to say how much of a hit Spotify will actually take. The platform has done a bit of tidying up, however: This week, they removed 70 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience in which Rogan used a racist slur.