After a month of controversy involving podcast host Joe Rogan, Spotify Technology SA disclosed a more immediate business problem: its growth in the first quarter of the year.
The company said it would end the first quarter with 418 million total users and 183 million paid subscribers, shy of Wall Street forecasts on both numbers. The company didn’t provide a reason for the shortfall, though it did say the uncertain environment of COVID-19 made it harder to forecast.
Spotify shares slipped as much as 23% in after-hours trading, erasing much of the gains made over the past two years. Spotify had added 135 million users since 2020, almost half of whom pay for the service. But the uneven return to business as usual has made it hard for companies to forecast their growth. Netflix also forecast a slow start to 2022, blaming a pandemic hangover.