The risk of ignoring audience segmentation: What Spotify got wrong

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Music streaming service Spotify recently found themselves at the heart of a costly controversy.

Podcast host Joe Rogan, whose podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” is exclusive to Spotify (in a deal said to have been worth over $200 million), hosted guests who expressed views about Covid-19 and the vaccine which run against medical advice.

Pressure began mounting for Spotify to remove the podcast, but they refused. When musician Neil Young removed his catalogue from the platform in protest, and Joni Mitchell and other artists spoke out in his support, subscribers began to cancel and the crisis began hitting Spotify hard.

This crisis has significantly impacted their share price, and unfortunately for Spotify, could have been avoided with some simple processes in place. It also clearly shows the importance of knowing your audiences, understanding their varied priorities and communicating the right message to each segment – both in times of crisis, and as a way of avoiding this kind of problem altogether.

We joined the Ethical Marketing Podcast to discuss the crisis, and how Spotify should have responded, in more detail. Listen here.

Andrew also shared some of the fundamental rules of crisis management and how Spotify got these wrong, on the Ethical Marketing News blog.