Spotify : Spotty record

| February 8, 2022

When controversy strikes, the streaming service’s ‘For the Record’ corporate website does not live up to its name

Picture of article from Spotify's corporate web presence

The feature

We looked at Spotify’s corporate web presence, called ‘For the Record’, to check how the company is using its primary corporate digital communication channel to respond to the ongoing Joe Rogan controversy.

The company released a statement from CEO Daniel Ek on January 30th 2022, “Spotify’s Platform Rules and Approach to COVID-19”, which is linked from a carousel on the ‘For the Record’ home page, and is the lead item in the News section. Two other elements of the company’s response are linked from this piece, including Spotify’s platform rules regarding dangerous and deceptive content and a Covid-19 hub, a collection of podcasts about the virus and vaccines.

Mr Ek made a statement to investors at the beginning of the latest quarterly results Q&A on February 2nd, which is available in the Investors section, but not specifically highlighted.

We could not find any reference to the CEO’s email to employees on February 6th, which was reported in the media on February 7th, or to the news that Spotify had removed about 70 episodes of Joe Rogan’s podcast over the previous weekend.

The takeaway

Spotify gets credit for putting a link to its January 30th statement on the ‘Off the Record’ home page and the News landing page, but in most other respects the company has failed to make the most of its most important corporate digital channel.

For a fast-moving controversy, January 30th as the last formal statement is looking outdated. The headline itself is bland and does not mention Joe Rogan, which may be an attempt to deflect, but if the company has made a statement, doesn’t it make sense to want people to read it?

Mr Ek’s February 2nd comments to investors are not well highlighted to journalists, which they will not appreciate, and which risks them writing something out of date. The site’s internal search engine was no help when we searched “Joe Rogan” – it only called up a statement from May 2020 announcing the purchase of the podcast.

Developing aspects of the controversy were also missing from ‘For the Record’ at the time we visited – including any reference to Mr Ek’s email to employees or the removal of episodes. Joe Rogan made a statement on Instagram last week too, but that is also not referenced.

Companies that are leading best practice in “explain yourself” digital communications have accepted that people come to corporate sites to find out about controversies. The corporate website is the one place a company can tell its side of the story, win over some sceptics as well as provide easy access to all relevant materials for important stakeholders. By doing so, Spotify could prove that ‘For the Record’ is more than just a catchy title.

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Our Bowen Craggs Club membership has enabled us to benchmark all aspects of our digital presence against global all-sector best practice, share lessons and ideas with peers, and get both quick-win and longer term recommendations for improvement. Bowen Craggs is also providing us with valuable advice on our approach to online communications following the acquisition of G4S by Allied Universal.”
 

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