Canadians, Americans, (and YouTube users) have differing reactions to the Rogan-Spotify controversy

Leaping into the moment, Canadian research firm Signal Hill Insights has produced a survey study of consumer reaction to the controversy swirling around Spotify’s distribution ownership of The Joe Rogan Experience. Rogan’s wide-ranging interview show is possibly the most successful podcast in the world. (See RAIN’s summary of current events HERE and HERE.

Signal Hill dashed into the field for survey work on February 2 and 3. One fulcrum of opinion lies on the American-Canadian border: There is more American sentiment to allow Joe Rogan to book his guests without oversight. Canadian respondents balance on the side of Spotify exerting editorial control:

Other patterns emerge from the analysis. Interestingly, respondents who use YouTube most often for podcasts favor leniency in dealing with Rogan’s controversial episodes. Those who use Apple most often favor stricter editorial control from Spotify. Spotify users (most often for podcasts) run down the middle of this divide.

Non-listeners to The Joe Rogan Experience think Spotify should take a firm hand — 61% of non-listeners say that, despite presumably never having heard the show. We take that as an opinion on general principle: The distribution rights holder is responsible for the content, these respondents seem to be saying. Sixty-four percent of JRE listeners feel the opposite.

Is all this a threat to Spotify’s finances, business growth, or stock performance? We don’t presume to know, but the Signal Hill study reveals that 10% of existing Spotify Premium users plan to cancel their accounts (but hadn’t yet at survey time). More tellingly, but with less potential financial impact, 12% of non-paying Spotify streamers had already shifted their listening elsewhere at survey time. In both groups, most respondents indicated no change would happen in their Spotify use.

See the study deck HERE.


Brad Hill