The Big Story: Spotify’s Dilemma And An Olympic Challenge

The Big Story podcast

The power of platforms to push content – or decide to pull it – was under scrutiny once again last week, when big-name musicians pulled out of Spotify to protest the misinformation flowing from the mouth of the audio platform’s $100 million exclusive podcast star, Joe Rogan.

The experience is a familiar one for many of Spotify’s platform peers, from YouTube to Facebook to Twitter. But while Facebook weathered an advertiser boycott, Spotify is experiencing a creator defection. Having lured a controversial creator to its platform in the form of Rogan, Spotify now must reckon with the fallout of what he says.

But if getting in hot water over unsavory content is a familiar phase on a platform’s path to maturity, here’s another marker: figuring out a first-party data and identity strategy. Another top audio platform, SiriusXM, is building a home-grown identifier it calls AudioID in an effort to get a single view of users across its multiple acquisitions.

Then, we turn our attention to the Beijing Olympics. The US diplomatic boycott of the games has put the sporting event into a weird gray zone. Planned TV coverage of the event seems light, sports articles gushing about athletes feel close to nonexistent – and advertisers appear reluctant to add those very expensive interlocked Olympics rings to their ad campaigns.

What’s more, the Super Bowl is crashing the sports party. The big game goes down during the Olympics. And since many of us are still working from our living rooms, B2B companies have decided to crash, too – interrupting the entertainment-focused vibes that were once the bread-and-butter of the Super Bowl with Super Bowl ads of their own. Live sports just aren’t the same anymore.

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