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the spotify experience

Spotify subscriptions grew 15 percent amid Joe Rogan controversy

What controversy? 

Spotify in an earnings report on Wednesday said premium subscriptions rose to 182 million last quarter — the same quarter in which the company faced backlash over Joe Rogan's podcast. This represented a 15 percent year-over-year increase. 

The number was slightly below Spotify's forecast that it would reach 183 million premium subscriptions last quarter, The Verge notes. But the company said "excluding the impact of our exit from Russia, subscriber growth exceeded expectations." In March, Spotify suspended service in Russia amid the invasion of Ukraine. 

This growth was despite the wave of musicians who pulled their music from Spotify earlier this year in protest of COVID-19 misinformation spread on Rogan's podcast The Joe Rogan Experience. The boycott started with Neil Young in January. Amid the controversy, Spotify repeatedly defended working with Rogan, whose deal with the streamer reportedly cost $200 million

"I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer," Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said. "We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope."

Rogan also faced backlash for resurfaced clips of him using the N-word, for which he apologized.

Recently, Rogan claimed he also gained subscribers to his podcast during the controversy. "It's interesting, my subscriptions went up massively. That's what's crazy," he said. "During the height of it all, I gained two million subscribers."