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‘Messy at best’: Is the US repeating the same Covid missteps with monkeypox messaging?

When Kyle Planck first suspected he might have monkeypox in late June, he went to the CDC website and found six photos of different types of lesions. And…

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When Kyle Planck first suspected he might have monkeypox in late June, he went to the CDC website and found six photos of different types of lesions. And that was about it for general public information.

Kyle Planck

Planck, who is a sixth-year PhD pharmacology researcher at Weill Cornell, kept looking though and found a separate part of the CDC website meant for healthcare professionals. There he found a medical slide deck with more pictures, professional journal articles and more details about symptoms and diagnosis.

Still, Planck’s search for answers was far from over. He had initially suspected an STI or Covid infection as the cause of his fever, fatigue and internal pain, but monkeypox was also on his mind. When repeated testing for both of those came up negative, that’s when he went to the CDC website for more monkeypox information, but as noted, it didn’t offer much in the way of information about where to get a diagnosis or treatment.

“It’s only because I work in academic medicine that one, I had the knowledge about monkeypox symptoms to tell my doctor that’s what I thought it was — and two, get a quick referral to an infectious disease expert to get tested and treated,” he said. “And then three is that I had the ability to take part in the investigational new drug protocol. Basically, my proximity to academic medicine gave me a lot of advantages that many people don’t have.”

Thousands of people along with Planck likely went looking for information from public health sources early on in the monkeypox outbreak and came up short. While information and messaging have improved in the weeks since then, the initial lack of data, conflicting information and government agency inconsistencies that continue even today come as consumer confidence is still recovering from widespread messaging and communications problems of the Covid pandemic.

Déjà vu all over again?

So is the US doomed to a cycle of lather-rinse-repeat when it comes to public health emergencies, outbreaks and even another mass pandemic? After all, it wasn’t only the Covid pandemic but other crises including H1N1, Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks and even further back to the early days of the HIV epidemic, that suffered the same kinds of messaging gaps and ensuing disinformation. The internet is awash in post-public health outbreak analysis and academic studies on what to do, or what not to do when the next outbreak inevitably occurs dating back many years. And yet here we are.

Elyse Margolis

“Unfortunately, what we’re seeing with monkeypox is a similar situation that we found ourselves in with Covid where we’re running after answers — instead of having experts ahead of it and pre-answering some of the questions that we know are going to be top of mind with many people,” said Elyse Margolis, Real Chemistry’s president of client experience. “From an information dissemination standpoint, it’s been messy at best, and we’re trying to play catch up now.”

David Bowen, head of policy and advocacy at Klick Health, said, “We’ve seen this cycle of boom and bust before in terms of preparedness for epidemics … But you can’t be reactive in dealing with this. You need to be prepared to go in so that you have the resources, training and personnel to get a forest fire while it’s small. It’s not the time to be buying hoses and training the firefighters.”

David Bowen

It’s true that some catching up is happening. Messaging and availability of disease information have changed immeasurably in public health communications since Planck became ill in June — on the CDC website there is now a plethora of resources from symptom checks to prevention tips to global outbreak and US case count maps just added on Monday. Meanwhile many local city and community education campaigns have also sprung up.

Experts do believe there have been improvements in the monkeypox response compared to Covid-19 and previous public health outbreaks. The World Health Organization and the US government, for instance, declared monkeypox a public health emergency more quickly than they might have in the past. Local city responses too have been quicker with practical messaging and communications about risk and resources.

In fairness, the dependable reality of viral disease outbreaks is unpredictability. Science lags at first and then changes as new data becomes available on how best to advise people for prevention, protection and treatments. That’s certainly been true with monkeypox.

Parsing the proper LGBTQ+ communications

Still one of the key ongoing issues that seem mired in confusion in the monkeypox outbreak is messaging for the LGBTQ+ community. Men who have sex with men account for 98% of monkeypox cases according to WHO, but thanks in part to an initial hesitation to avoid stigmatizing gay men or the LGBTQ+ community in general, the messages may have been too broad and not targeted enough, some critics say.

Jim Downs

Jim Downs, a professor at Gettysburg College, wrote an article for The Atlantic in May about monkeypox. Downs, who is the author of the recent book “Maladies of Empire” which traces the history of infectious disease in the US, questioned the wisdom of downplaying messaging to the LGBTQ+ community.

“Initially the WHO and CDC had the right intention, understanding that it would be dangerous to put out a message that could potentially stigmatize gay people. But when I wrote that article, what I was afraid of was the messaging getting diluted,” he said.

His assertion then — when only nine people in the US had contracted monkeypox — was that even though that caution around stigma was warranted, “health agencies are putting gay men at risk unless they prioritize them for interventions such as public-awareness campaigns, vaccines and tests.”

To date, about 9,000 people have contracted monkeypox in the US, according to CDC data, and as Downs pointed out, mainstream information and messaging are still not getting it right. Too much focus on the “no one is immune” message is muddying the waters and creating dangerous delays, he said.

“We have to be careful about using outlier cases as the driving force or the way we’re understanding the outbreak,” he said. “Science always acknowledges and recognizes variation, but we shouldn’t be focusing on the one or two percent of possibilities when the vast majority of cases are in men who have sex with men.”

Science and data need to stay at forefront

Margolis agreed about the importance of science. She pointed to those lessons learned during Covid as key for messaging.

“It’s important for us as communicators to think about following the science,” she said. “The world is in a very different place in terms of our ability to make decisions based on science and data, so we shouldn’t be afraid of not putting information out for fear that we’re fear-mongering. People understand more now that you make decisions based on the information you have. It’s when it’s opaque or confusing or just not there that you start to get in trouble.”

Another marketing lesson learned from previous crises, and particularly during Covid, is the power of local communications. That is, the importance of community-targeted messaging and local trusted sources speaking up.

Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and New York are some of the cities leading the way with proactive messaging that targets the LGBTQ+ community most at risk without layering on stigma.

Klick’s Bowen reviewed monkeypox health messaging on Monday and pointed to New York as a good example of that.

“The first thing they said is ‘anyone can get and spread monkeypox.’ That’s a very simple, straightforward comment but grounds us in the idea that hits people and potentially anyone is at risk and potentially anyone is a spreader. And then they went on to talk about some of the characteristics of the outbreak in New York and who they are reaching out to most to get vaccinated,” he said.

On the ground in New York, Planck pointed to anecdotal evidence of on-the-ground messaging, posters he saw “all over” Fire Island Pines last weekend about the signs and symptoms of monkeypox. Fire Island towns such as Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove are longtime open havens for LGBTQ+ people.

Still, Planck said even those were a bit of a disappointment in that the QR codes on the posters linked to a basic information New York State public health website.

Trusted sources, and including LGBTQ+ representation since it is the primarily affected group right now, should also be considered in monkeypox messaging efforts.

“Targeted messaging about monkeypox whether it’s about symptoms or risk reduction strategies or whatever it may be, lands better when it comes from LGBTQ+ folks,” Planck said.

Demetre Daskalakis

The appointment of Demetre Daskalakis as deputy coordinator on the White House task force on monkeypox last week was a welcome step, he said. Daskalakis is a well-known and trusted LGBTQ+ community member and advocate. His previous clinical practice in New York focused on providing care for underserved communities there. He’s currently the director of the CDC’s division of HIV Prevention.

In June, Daskalakis narrated a CDC YouTube video outlining things to know about monkeypox at that time.

While many cities may be generally getting it right, don’t forget about more rural areas where vaccination and prevention messages may not reach, Downs cautioned. There are men who drive to cities from the suburbs once a month or so to have sex or are living in small towns and are hesitant to publicly reveal sexual preferences who need to get the same messages — maybe even more so.

Remember that during the Covid pandemic, misinformation or just the absence of enough information in rural areas and among communities of color helped contribute to poor outcomes in infection rates and even deaths.

Briana Ferrigno

“There’s a lot we can learn from Covid communications and the response now that we’ve had two years to reflect on,” said Briana Ferrigno, president of McCann Global Health. “The blunders around response time, the overall delays and confusion, the misinformation that persists even now and the myths at the beginning of Covid when it was downplayed by governments around the world, not just the US. … We’ve already seen some of that delay again in monkeypox with a lot of people pointing to that delay contributing to not being able to contain the disease quickly enough.”

Clearer messages needed for vaccines and treatment

So with monkeypox messaging, communications and marketing still coming up to speed is there a chance that advertising agencies and professional ad campaigns will swoop in as they did during the Covid pandemic?

Donated time and creative work from major agencies and the Ad Council — alongside big paid campaigns such as HHS’ “We Can Do This” $250 million effort — helped to deliver concise marketing messages around masking, testing and vaccinations. The Covid-19 vaccine makers — Pfizer, Moderna and even Novavax — all contributed to public health messages with awareness ads of their own about the importance of vaccination.

While that may happen with monkeypox, there is little evidence so far. Partly because the outbreak is much smaller — and unfortunately maybe seen as not as important because of severity.

HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra ruffled some feathers in the LGBTQ+ community when he said a few weeks ago — before the public health emergency was declared — that while the US needed to be vigilant he added, “But how many people have died compared to say Covid? Zero.”

Beyond general messaging about monkeypox facts and risk mitigation, there are still-emerging communications around the vaccines and treatment. The updated vaccine Jynneos from Bavarian Nordic, and antiviral treatment TPOXX or tecovirimat from Siga Technologies, are both playing key roles in public health emergencies. However, neither of the manufacturers is likely to create their own campaigns — both are suppliers only to governments and in the US, to the Strategic National Stockpile.

Planck who received a two-week course of TPOXX, which is approved as tecovirimat in the EU to treat monkeypox but in the US is only FDA-approved for smallpox, isn’t waiting for that messaging.

Planck believes the severity of his monkeypox illness was mitigated by taking TPOXX — and that’s the same conclusion a dozen or so other people he knows have taken it reached. The CDC currently is allowing the use of TPOXX to treat monkeypox in the US, but only as an expanded access Investigational New Drug (EA-IND) with supplies only available from the strategic national stockpile. Translation? It’s very hard to get, and essentially impossible outside of large cities.

While Planck knows his evidence is anecdotal — and he appreciates as a pharmacologist that the effectiveness of TPOXX still needs to be proven through clinical trials, he’s on a mission to do just that. He’s raising awareness, writing letters and speaking up at meetings with legislators and public health officials to try to speed up access and distribution.

He also wants better messaging from public health officials. But he’s not waiting around for that either. Planck along with other recovering monkeypox patients along with LGBTQ+ advocates have taken up the cause — in true young millennial fashion — sharing resources with their followers and others on social media.

They’ve created updatable Google docs with vaccine availability dates and times as well as TPOXX treatment options and possible physician prescribers from across the US. While the CDC has updated its data online, there is no official monkeypox vaccine locator or therapeutics locator.

At the end of the day, it may be the local messages and social campaigns that most effectively help turn the tide of monkeypox infections. But certainly, no effort whether federal, state, local or grassroots will work without coordination.

Bowen said, “We often talk about public health communications as it were only one way. That is agencies, in this case, government agencies talking to an affected community. But of course, really effective public health communication is two-way. It’s informed by the community that it’s trying to reach and addresses that community with the right messages, with the right messengers in the right channels. That’s always a work in progress, especially in an outbreak where you’re learning new things every day.”

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FDA’s drug shortages leader wants companies to start reporting increases in demand

It is no secret that drug shortages have been prevalent in 2022. Several major drug products, such as amoxicillin and Adderall, have been in short supply…

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It is no secret that drug shortages have been prevalent in 2022. Several major drug products, such as amoxicillin and Adderall, have been in short supply for several months and have led to members of Congress applying pressure on the FDA and HHS to resolve the situation.

Valerie Jensen

Speaking at a webinar hosted by the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, Valerie Jensen, the associate director of the FDA’s Drug Shortage Staff, noted both the rise in quality-related issues and increased demand for some products. She called on companies to report such demand increases, even though they are not currently required to do so.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, she said, the agency has seen new challenges mainly related to these increases in demand.

“During the pandemic as well, we had competition on manufacturing lines and that’s still occurring due to vaccine production and other Covid products,” Jensen said. “So, the same products are being made on those lines that are making the vaccines and Covid-related products, and then that creates a competition situation.”

Jensen added that an increase in demand for manufacturing commodities due to large-scale vaccine production is also leading to shortages. Items such as glass, filters and vial hoppers are in short supply. And now the increased demand is centered around the increase in drugs to counter respiratory illnesses.

She said the physical number of drug shortages currently sits at 123, which is “a little above normal,” but there have been around 100 shortages at any given time over the past seven years. Some of those can be chalked up to companies not producing the volumes required to meet market demand. She also added that there were 38 new shortages in 2021, but the FDA is still dealing with them this year.

For some temporary solutions, Jensen said that she has been coordinating with international regulatory authorities more often, to find out what is being marketed and to see if they can import a drug in short supply in the US. She is also coordinating experts to try to mitigate the situation, providing the public with widely available information as well as expediting the review of anything that manufacturers need to boost supplies.

However, Jensen said that the increase in the demand for drugs is not something that will be going away anytime soon.

“One thing that we really see going forward are these demand increases, this is something that is fairly new to us. It’s something that we’re looking at closely,” she said. “We would really want companies to inform us if they’re seeing spikes in demand because that’s currently not required.”

While producers do need to let the FDA know of supply disruption, companies do not need to let the FDA know of spikes in demand, and Jensen would like to see this changed. Also, she would like to apply different uses for supply chain data to look for signals or patterns and ultimately predict shortages.

Jensen added that in some cases it is impossible to prevent a shortage, but she stresses that better notification of when companies are seeing a spike in demand can be a key solution:

In those cases, when we can prevent (a shortage), we are using those same tools to prevent it. So, we’re expediting review, we’re looking at potential ways that we can use flexibility to allow a product to be on the market while the company fixes a problem. All of those tools are really the same for prevention and mitigation. But I think that really the key is early notification. The earlier companies let us know about an issue the earlier we can deal with it.

With the uptick in respiratory illnesses and shortages of drugs such as amoxicillin, Jensen noted that it’s a matter of reaching out and monitoring the market to see what manufacturers are contending with. Also, Jensen will look to work with pharmacy associations and other trade groups to see what is occurring at the pharmacy level and then “put all of those pieces together” to try and help end the shortage.

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Scientists reveal encouraging findings in first-in-human clinical trial evaluating HIV vaccine approach

NEW YORK and LA JOLLA, CA—While scientists have struggled in the past to create an effective vaccine against HIV, a novel vaccine design strategy being…

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NEW YORK and LA JOLLA, CA—While scientists have struggled in the past to create an effective vaccine against HIV, a novel vaccine design strategy being pursued by researchers at Scripps Research, IAVI, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (Fred Hutch) and the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center (VRC) shows new promise, according to data from a first-in-human clinical trial.

Credit: CHRISTOPHER COTTRELL, CREATED WITH BIORENDER.COM

NEW YORK and LA JOLLA, CA—While scientists have struggled in the past to create an effective vaccine against HIV, a novel vaccine design strategy being pursued by researchers at Scripps Research, IAVI, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (Fred Hutch) and the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center (VRC) shows new promise, according to data from a first-in-human clinical trial.

In a paper published in Science on December 2, 2022, the scientists reveal critical new insights into their novel vaccine strategy, which involves a stepwise approach to producing antibodies capable of targeting a wide range of HIV variants. 

“The data we are publishing in Science demonstrates for the first time that one can design a vaccine that elicits made-to-order antibodies in humans. We specified in advance certain molecular properties of the antibodies that we wanted to elicit, and the results of this trial show that our vaccine antigen consistently induced precisely those types of antibodies,” says co-senior author William Schief, PhD, a professor and immunologist at Scripps Research and executive director of vaccine design at IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Center, whose laboratory developed the vaccine antigen. “We believe this vaccine design strategy will be essential to make an HIV vaccine and may help the field create vaccines for other difficult pathogens.”

The Phase 1 trial, known as IAVI G001, tested the first stage in a multi-stage HIV vaccine regimen the researchers are developing. The trial results show that the vaccine had a favorable safety profile and induced the targeted response in 97% of people who were vaccinated. Importantly, the Science study also provides a detailed immunological analysis of the vaccine responses.

“HIV represents an area of dire unmet need across the world, which is what makes the findings from our Phase 1 clinical trial so encouraging,” says Mark Feinberg, MD, PhD, president and CEO of IAVI. “Through the close-knit collaboration of many different scientists, disciplines and institutions, we are that much closer to designing an effective vaccine that could help end the HIV pandemic.”  

Priming the Immune System

Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) are a rare type of antibody that can fight and protect against many different variants of a virus—including HIV. This is why scientists have tried to develop an HIV vaccine that induces bnAbs, but thus far without success.   

The researchers in the study are using a strategy known as ‘germline targeting’ to eventually produce bnAbs that can protect against HIV. The first step of germline targeting involves stimulating the rare immune cells—known as bnAb-precursor B cells—that can eventually evolve into the cells that produce the bnAbs needed to block the virus. To accomplish this first step, the researchers designed a customized molecule—known as an immunogen—that would “prime” the immune system and elicit responses from these rare bnAb-precursor cells.

The overarching goal of the IAVI G001 trial was to determine if the vaccine had an acceptable safety profile and could induce responses from these bnAb-precursor B cells.

“Through extensive safety and tolerability monitoring during the trial, we showed the vaccine had a favorable safety profile, while still inducing the necessary target cells,” says study author Dagna Laufer, MD, vice president and head of clinical development at IAVI. “This represents a large step forward in developing an HIV vaccine that is both safe and effective.”

To determine if the targeted bnAb-precursor B cells were induced, the researchers carried out a sophisticated analytical process.

“The workflow of multidimensional immunological analyses has taken clinical trial evaluation to the next level,” says co-senior author Adrian B. McDermott, PhD, former chief of the Vaccine Immunology Program at the NIAID VRC. “In evaluating these important immunological factors, we helped show why the vaccine antigen was able to induce the targeted response in 97% of vaccine recipients.” 

IAVI G001 was sponsored by IAVI and took place at two sites: George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C., and Fred Hutch in Seattle, enrolling 48 healthy adult volunteers. Participants received either a placebo or two doses of the vaccine antigen, eOD-GT8 60mer, along with an adjuvant developed by the pharmaceutical company GSK. Julie McElrath, MD, PhD, co-senior author, senior vice president and director of Fred Hutch’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, and David Diemert, MD, professor of medicine at GWU School of Medicine and Health Sciences, were lead investigators at the trial sites.

A Deeper Immunological Dive

The study also carefully examined the properties of the antibodies and B cells induced by the vaccine antigen, in what Schief likens to “looking under the car hood” to understand how the immune system operated in response to the vaccine. One analysis showed that the vaccine antigen first stimulated an average of 30 to 65 different bnAb precursors per person vaccinated, and then caused those cells to multiply. This helped explain why the vaccine induced the desired response in almost all participants.

Other analyses delved into the specific mutations the bnAb-precursor B cells acquired over time and how tightly they bound to the vaccine antigen. These investigations showed that that after each dose of the vaccine, the bnAb-precursor B cells gained affinity and continued along favorable maturation pathways.

One concern for this type of vaccine approach is the notion of “competitors”—in other words, the B cells induced by the vaccine antigen that are not bnAb precursors. The researchers extensively studied the “competitor” responses, and the results were very encouraging. Although the majority of the B cells triggered by vaccination were, in fact, “competitors”, these undesired B cells could not match the binding strength of the desired bnAb precursors and did not seem to impede maturation of the bnAb-precursor responses.

“These findings were very encouraging, as they indicated that immunogen design principles we used could be applied to many different epitopes, whether for HIV or even other pathogens,” adds Schief.

With these promising data in hand spanning both safety and immune responses, the researchers will continue to iterate and design boosting immunogens that could eventually induce the desired bnAbs and provide protection against the virus. These findings also come shortly after two additional studies in Immunity published in September 2022, which helped validate the germline-targeting approach for vaccinating against HIV.

“Working together with IAVI, Scripps Research, the VRC, GWU, additional investigators at Fred Hutch and many others, this trial and additional analyses will help inform design of the remaining stages of a candidate HIV vaccine regimen—while also enabling others in the field to develop vaccine strategies for additional viruses,” says McElrath of Fred Hutch.

IAVI, Scripps Research, NIAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are partnering with the biotechnology company Moderna to develop and test mRNA delivery of these HIV vaccine antigens. Two Phase I clinical trials are underway that build on IAVI G001, one (IAVI G002) at four sites in the U.S. and another (IAVI G003) at the Center for Family Health Research in Kigali, Rwanda, and The Aurum Institute in Tembisa, South Africa. Both are testing mRNA delivery of the eOD-GT8 60mer that was evaluated as recombinant protein in IAVI G001, and the U.S. trial includes a boost antigen designed by the Schief lab and delivered with Moderna mRNA technology. A third trial (HVTN302), at ten sites in the U.S., is testing mRNA delivery of three different stabilized HIV trimers designed in the Schief laboratory that are candidates for late-stage boosters in multi-stage vaccines aiming to induce bnAbs. Using mRNA technology could significantly accelerate the pace of HIV vaccine development as it allows for faster production of clinical trial material.

This work was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery; the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center; NIAID; Scripps Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery and Scripps Consortium for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Development; and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard. Other collaborating organizations include Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Karolinska Institutet, and La Jolla Institute. 

Research at the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center that contributed to the development of the vaccine antigen eOD-GT8 60mer was also made possible by the government of the Netherlands through the Minister of Foreign Trade & Development Cooperation and through the generous support of the American people through PEPFAR through USAID. The contents are the responsibility of IAVI and Scripps Research and do not necessarily reflect the views of PEPFAR, USAID, or the United States government.

About IAVI

IAVI is a nonprofit scientific research organization dedicated to addressing urgent, unmet global health challenges including HIV and tuberculosis. Its mission is to translate scientific discoveries into affordable, globally accessible public health solutions. Read more at iavi.org.

About Scripps Research

Scripps Research is an independent, nonprofit biomedical institute ranked the most influential in the world for its impact on innovation by Nature Index. We are advancing human health through profound discoveries that address pressing medical concerns around the globe. Our drug discovery and development division, Calibr, works hand-in-hand with scientists across disciplines to bring new medicines to patients as quickly and efficiently as possible, while teams at Scripps Research Translational Institute harness genomics, digital medicine and cutting-edge informatics to understand individual health and render more effective healthcare. Scripps Research also trains the next generation of leading scientists at our Skaggs Graduate School, consistently named among the top 10 US programs for chemistry and biological sciences. Learn more at www.scripps.edu.


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40+ Spotify statistics 2022: SPOT stock, revenue and performance

Spotify Technology SA (NYSE: SPOT) is the leading on-demand music streaming company today, with more than 1 billion app downloads on Google Play alone….

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Spotify Technology SA (NYSE: SPOT) is the leading on-demand music streaming company today, with more than 1 billion app downloads on Google Play alone. The Sweden-based company was founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, and has seen remarkable growth in the past few years as it expands across the globe.

Although it dominates the music streaming industry, Spotify faces tough competition when it comes to attracting, engaging and retaining users. The Sweden-based company’s top global competitors include Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Amazon Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL)’s Google, all of which are leveraging their extensive reach and financial muscle to carve a bigger chunk of the market from Spotify.

However, 40+ Spotify statistics suggest further growth and potential for greater revenue and market performance could see the company continue to dominate the industry.

Find out more in this article, starting with our pick of the top Spotify facts and statistics 2022 below.

Spotify facts and stats – Editor’s pick

  • Spotify is the number one music streaming site, with more than 1 billion app downloads on Google Play.
  • There were 456 million monthly active users on Spotify as of September 2022, with growth expected to push MAUs to over 479 million by the end of 2022.
  • SPOT stock went live on the New York Stock Exchange on 3 April 2018 via a Direct Listing. The IPO share price of $165.90 valued the company at $29.5 billion
  • Companiesmarketcap currently ranks Spotify as the 1,050th most valuable company in the world with a market cap just above $15 billion as of December 2022.
  • The Spotify stock hit an all-time high of $364.5 per share in February 2021, and an all-time low of $69.28 in November 2022.
  • Spotify makes about 4.52 euros, or $4.71 from each premium account user in 2022, up from an average of €4.25 ($4.43) in 2021.

Spotify company overview, facts and trends

1. Spotify Technologies SA was founded in 2006

Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon founded Spotify in 2006 in Sweden. Despite the early threat to the business from established names such as Apple and Amazon, the music streaming company has grown to command nearly a third of the market share as of 2022.

2. Spotify is available in more than 180 countries

Expansion efforts, including across more than 80 new markets in early 2020 has seen Spotify reach users in 184 countries.

3. Over 9,800 people are employed by Spotify as of 2022

Spotify employees’ total count shot up by over 81% in 2021 to reach 6,617 and then grew to over 8,000 by March 2022. As of 30 September 2022, the company’s employee number worldwide was 9,808, despite plans to slow down on hiring by 25% as revealed in June.

4. Spotify has a leading 31% market share in music streaming

Spotify is the #1 music app on App Store and takes up 31% of the music and video streaming market worldwide. The app leads Apple Music (15%), Amazon Music (13%), Tencent Music (13%), and YouTube Music (8%). The Spotify: Music, Podcasts, Lit app first released in May 2014 has seen over a billion downloads on Google Play.

5. There are more than 82 million tracks on Spotify

As the number one music streaming app in the world, Spotify has seen the number of songs uploaded increase rapidly over the last few years. As of November 2022, there were more than 82 million tracks on the platform.

6. An average of 1.8 million songs are uploaded on Spotify every month

Over 1,800,000 songs are uploaded to Spotify every month, with an average of 60,000 sent to the streaming giant every single day.

7. There are over 4 billion playlists on Spotify

Spotify has over 4 billion playlists, variously curated to suit user preferences based on factors like age, gender, and theme. Spotify offers all types of songs, making it suitable for all kinds of users.

8. There are over 4.7 million podcasts on Spotify

There were more than 4.7 million podcasts on the Spotify podcast in 2022, with the increasing monthly active users and popularity of podcasting seeing a double-digit jump in creators.

9. Spotify has raised $2.1 billion over 18 rounds

Spotify closed its latest funding round on 25 February, with the Sweden-based company’s total funding rising to $2.1 billion over 18 financing rounds.

10. Spotify has acquired 27 companies/platforms

The last few years have seen Spotify consolidate its presence in the music streaming market with critical acquisitions. So far, the company has completed deals for 24 different companies and platforms within the industry, including Anchor FM for $166.3 million, Gimlet Media for $201.3 million, Megaphone for $238.44 million and Whooshkaa for $235 million. The latest acquisition was Kinzen, which was completed on 5 October 2022.

11. FC Barcelona agreed a €280 million deal with Spotify in 2022

Spanish soccer giants FC Barcelona signed a €280 ($309) million sponsorship deal with Spotify. The multi-year deal saw Spotify become FC Barcelona’s main shirt sponsor and gave the audio streaming giant the naming rights for the legendary Camp Nou stadium.

Spotify stock market statistics

12. Spotify’s stock debut in April 2018 was the first ever Direct Listing on the NYSE

Spotify Technology SA made its stock market debut via a direct listing. The company’s shares were listed for trading on the New York Stock Exchange on 3 April, 2018 at the share price of $ $165.90 for a valuation of $29.5 billion. Following Spotify’s successful IPO in 2018, Slack went public via Direct Listing in 2019. ZipRecruiter Inc. (NYSE: ZIP) and Roblox Corporation (NYSE: RBLX) also took the same approach.

13. Spotify has a market cap of $15.2 billion

As of 27 December 2022, Spotify has a market capitalization of $15.2 billion, which ranks the company as the world’s 1050th largest by market cap according to Companiesmarketcap.  The Sweden-based company’s market cap was around $23 billion in March 2022 with Spotify ranked the world’s 759th most valuable company by market cap.

14. 30 million shares were traded on Spotify’s first trading session

A highly anticipated SPOT stock debut saw nearly 30 million shares change hands during Spotify’s first trading session. At the time, around 178 million, or about 91% of Spotify shares were tradable on the first day, a greater percentage than what’s seen during typical traditional IPOs.

15. Spotify has 192,948,032 shares outstanding as of 2022

As per Spotify’s latest financial reports, the total shares outstanding as of December 2022 was 193,077,334. The company’s total shares outstanding was put at 192,948,032 by the end of 2022.

16. The Spotify stock price rose to an all-time high of $364.5 in 2021 

On February 19, 2021, Spotify stock price rose to an all-time high of $364.5 amid a bull market that also saw the S&P 500 rise to an all-time high. However, the bear market of 2022 has decimated stocks, and one can now buy Spotify shares at around $78 as of December 2022.

17. Spotify’s stock price has declined 68% year-to-date

After a brutal bear market for stocks, the SPOT price has declined nearly 68% as of 27 December 2022.  At current prices, Spotify shares are more than 46% down since its IPO in April 2018.

18. The Spotify stock touched the all-time low of $69.28 on 4 November 2022

The SPOT share price closed at $71.05 on 4 November 2022, after briefly falling to a 52-week low of $69.28 in intraday action. Despite this, a bear rally for the stock market in November helped push the Spotify stock price to highs of $85.11 on 15 November. The stock’s price is however more than 46% down on its debut closing price in April 2018.

Spotify revenue statistics

Spotify offers its service across two models: a premium membership where subscribers pay a fee to access uninterrupted content and an ad-supported model where content is punctuated with ads or commercials. Advertiser’s pay to reach users, more like on traditional radio. The largest percentage of Spotify’s revenue is from premium subscriptions.

19. Spotify’s generated more than $11 billion in revenue in 2021

Spotify generated 9.668 billion euros ($11.23 billion) in revenue in 2021, up from 7.880 billion euros ($9.15 billion) in 2020 and 6.764 billion euros ($7.56 billion) in 2019. According to the company’s latest financial documents, the company’s revenue for the nine months ending September 30, 2022 was 8.561 billion euros (about $8.92 billion), while trailing twelve month revenue stood at $11.99 billion (as of 27 December 2022).

20. Spotify generated $3.16 billion in Q3 2022

In Q3 2022, Spotify generated just over 3 billion euros (approximately $3.16), compared to 2.5 billion euros ($2.6 billion) during the same quarter in 2021. In this, premium revenue accounted for 2.7 billion euros while Ad-supported revenue made up 385 million euros. The largest segment in the ads revenue section was Podcasting.

21. 88% of Spotify revenue is from premium subscription

Most of Spotify’s revenue comes from its premium subscribers, with the latest financial records showing premium revenue accounted for 88% of total revenue as of September 30, 2022. Premium revenue increased 22% or by €1.36 billion (roughly $1.43 billion) in the nine months ending September 30, 2022. Total premium revenue by end of Q3 was 7.534 billion euros (about $7.85 billion) compared to 6.165 billion euros ($6.42 billion) in the nine months to the corresponding quarter a year ago. 

22. Spotify generated $1.26 billion from ads in 2021

In 2021, ad-supported users helped generate €1.208 billion ($1.26 billion) for Spotify, up from €745 million ($775 million) in 2020.

23. More than 38% of Spotify’s 2021 revenue was generated in the US

According to Spotify financial records for 2021, the company generated €3.692 billion (over $3.8 billion) in the United States. With Spotify revenue in 2021 at €9.668 billion, the US market accounted for over 38% of total revenue.

24. Spotify has averaged €200 million in positive Free Cash Flow for the past three years

Although the range of Free Cash Flow fluctuates from quarter to quarter, Spotify has averaged more than €200 million ($208 million) of positive Free Cash Flow on a trailing twelve month period since 2019.

25. Spotify made €4.52 from each Premium user in 2022

Spotify’s average revenue per user (ARPU) in Q3 was €4.63 ($4.82), an amount the company made from each premium account. According to the company, premium ARPU over the nine months ending September 30, 2022 was €4.52 ($4.71), up from €4.25 ($4.43) in 2021.

Spotify user statistics

26. Spotify has more than 195 million premium subscribers worldwide

Spotify makes most of its money from its premium subscribers and as of Q3 2022, the platform’s premium user base had increased to 195 million premium. The total premium user number increased by 1 million more than projected, illustrating the potential for further growth – particularly in LATAM.

27. Spotify had 456 million monthly active users (MAUs) as of October 2022

Monthly active users (MAUs) is a key performance indicator for Spotify and is the total count of the audience who engage with the service over the month.  MAUs include both Ad-supported users and premium subscribers who access content for more than zero milliseconds in the indicated thirty days. As of September 30, there were 456 million monthly active users on Spotify, with the figure representing a 20% Y/Y growth from 381 million in Q3 2021.

28. Spotify added a record 23 million monthly active users in Q3 2022, despite exiting Russia earlier in the year

23 million more users accessed Spotify in the three months ending September 30, 2022, the largest quarterly increase over the quarter in Spotify’s history. This came even with the company’s exit from Russia following sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

29. Spotify’s monthly active users were projected to hit 479 million by end of 2022

As well as Q3 2022, Spotify projected a net growth of 23 million in its monthly active users in Q4 2022. That forecast put the total MAUs at 479 million at the end of December 31, 2022.

30. 273 million of Spotify users are ad-supported

Spotify’s ad-supported user base grew by 24% in 2022 to 273 million, up from 220 million in 2021. Therefore, Spotify added 50 million more ad-supported users in the past year.

31. Spotify’s premium users are expected to grow by 7 million to 202 million by end of 2022

While Spotify reported 195 premium subscribers in its Q3 financial report, the company expects the number to grow another 7 million to 202 million by the end of 2022. Comparably, premium users grew 13% year-on-year in Q3 2022 to 195 million, up from 172 million.

32. An average of 15 million people access Spotify every day

Spotify records an average of 15 million users every day, with 44% of users using the streaming service at least once every day. Across regions, North America leads, with second-highest average daily usage in Europe.

33. Spotify users streamed 110 billion hours of content in 2021 despite COVID-19 disruption

The COVID-19 pandemic disruption did not impact Spotify users shown in the company’s financial records filed in earlier 2022. As of 31 December 2021, both premium and ad-supported users had streamed over 110 billion hours of content, up 20% on total hours streamed in 2020.

34. 56% of Spotify users are male

A slight majority of Spotify users are male, with data showing males account for 56% of users. As of December 2022, females accounted for 44% of the user base.

35. Europe accounts for 33% of Spotify’s monthly active listeners

Europe has 136 million Spotify monthly active users, accounting for 33% of MAUs globally. North America, in this case the United States and Canada, has the second-highest number of monthly active users at 23% share while Latin America and the rest of the world account for 21% and 22% respectively.

36. About 39% of Spotify’s premium users are from Europe

Like the monthly active users, Europe accounts for the highest percentage of premium subscribers. According to the latest details, 39% of premium users were from Europe. North America consisted of 28%, Latin America comprised 21% and the rest of the world accounted for 12%.

37. Millennials account for 29% of Spotify users

While people from all ages use Spotify, data shows that the biggest chunk is millennials. According to the latest statistics, 29% of the platform’s users are within the 25-34 year age bracket while 26% fall in the 18-24 years age group.

Spotify artist facts and stats

38. The Spotify app supports more than 11 million artists

Popularity has seen most of the world’s most celebrated music artists put their songs on Spotify. Currently, the platform has an estimated 11 million artists worldwide.

39. Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” has hit 3.3 billion streams, currently the most streamed song on Spotify 

Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” hit has been streamed more than 3.3 billion times as of December 2022, ranking as the all-time most streamed track on Spotify. Ed Sheeran is also currently the most followed artist on Spotify at over 105 million users and tops the list of most followed artists on Spotify ahead of Ariana Grande (over 85 million), Billie Eilish (72 million) Drake (69 million) and Justin Bieber (67 million).

40. Spotify paid over $7 billion in royalties to artists in 2021

The music streaming giant paid a staggering $7 billion to artists in 2021, the most a music streaming platform has ever paid in a single year. According to Spotify, every song that plays on the platform earns its rightsholder royalties – be it from the premium or ad-supported service. As of the end of 2021, Spotify had paid more than 28.7 billion euros ($30 billion) in royalties since its launch.

41. Artists earn $0.003-$0.005 per stream on Spotify

The pay per stream on Spotify was between $0.003 and $0.005 per stream, with artists earning an average of $3.00 to $5.40 per 1000 streams.

42. More than 1,000 artists earned $1M or more from Spotify royalties in 2021

The number of artists who earned money from royalties on Spotify grew in 2021, with more than 1000 pocketing over $1 million in 2021. The number who earned more than $10,000 also grew to 50,000 artists in that bumper year.

Spotify statistics: Conclusion

Spotify’s music streaming service currently ranks ahead of Apple, Amazon and Tencent – all services from global companies. Despite the competition, Spotify has seen its  user base grow significantly over the past year. Monthly active users surpassed 456 million and premium subscribers hit 195 million in Q3, 2022, while revenue rose to over 3 billion euros in the same quarter for a 21% year-on-year growth.

In the market, the Spotify stock has traded lower amid the 2022 bear market. As of 2nd December, the Spotify stock is trading around $79.45, which puts its price nearly 68% down year-to-date. However, the SPOT share price climbed more than 5% in November and is likely to be attractive to investors going into 2023 given Spotify’s growth outlook.

The post 40+ Spotify statistics 2022: SPOT stock, revenue and performance appeared first on Invezz.

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