Spotify is rolling out COVID advisory warnings on podcasts like Joe Rogan’s. The move comes two months after a huge uproar over medical misinformation on the platform.
In January 2022, more than 270 medical professionals and scientists published an open letter to Spotify seeking a misinformation policy surrounding content on its platform. Specifically, the letter called out The Joe Rogan Experience, which Spotify paid more than $200 million to land as an exclusive.
When Spotify didn’t respond to the letter, musicians like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulled their music from the platform. The move prompted Spotify to respond, promising COVID advisory warnings on all future podcasts that discuss the virus – regardless of the discussion happening.
Spotify has finally rolled out its COVID advisory warnings, which appear as a blue box in the app.
When clicked, the box prompts the listener to a COVID-19 information hub. Spotify rolled out this hub in March 2020 to help direct listeners to correct information about the disease. Spotify’s algorithm for labeling podcasts with the advisory searches for keywords like COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic, and other triggers in the podcast metadata.
“On January 30, 2022, Spotify announced plans to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19,” a Spotify spokesperson confirms. “Three days later, on February 2, we launched the content advisory on our platform and we’ve been adding it to episodes that include discussion about COVID-19 on a rolling basis ever since. Today, the COVID content advisory appears on ~1.4 million podcast episodes on our platform.”
The controversy stirred up a lot of backlashes online, with campaigns like #CancelSpotify and #ByeByeSpotify trending on social media. But the music streaming service remains the dominant choice across the globe, according to a January 2022 report. Nearly 523.9 million people subscribe to a music streaming service globally. Of that number, Spotify commands around 31% of the market – down from 34% in 2019 (and before the pandemic).
Global Streaming Music Subscription Market – Q2 2021
(Data from MiDiA)
- Spotify – 31%
- Apple Music – 15%
- Amazon Music – 13%
- Tencent Music – 13%
- YouTube Music – 8%
- NetEase – 6%
- Deezer – 2%
- Yandex – 2%
- Other – 10%
Spotify’s rivals like Amazon Music and YouTube Music are growing faster than ever. Spotify grew by 20% last year, Amazon Music grew 25%, and YouTube Music saw 50% YoY growth in the year leading up to Q2 2021.