A crop of a Missing sign
Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona

Missing, presumed deleted

· By · 2.8 minutes to read

EXCLUSIVE: Growing followers, paid subscribers, and an award nomination: and then the Spotify for Podcasters algorithm deleted the show

Kaigan Carrie was celebrating - after two years and four months, her podcast Evolving Prisons was showing some signs of real success.

The show had good and growing figures; and, through Spotify, the show had gained a number of paid subscribers - people paying around $1.99 per month for bonus content.

Then, she heard she’d gained a nomination for Outstanding Indie Podcast at the True Crime Awards.

Less than 48 hours later, however, she received an email from Spotify for Podcasters, with whom Kaigan hosted her show.

“It has come to our attention that your podcast may contain content that has been flagged for suspicious payments activity,” the email said. Within five minutes, her podcast was deleted - removed from Spotify and, because the RSS feed disappeared, it began to be removed from other platforms, including Apple Podcasts.

Not to worry, though. Spotify sent a further email. All her audio was back.

“After review, your podcast account has been reinstated. However, based on our internal flags, we recommend updating your password.”

A message about “updating your password” would appear to suggest that her account was hacked. Android Authority noted in May 2023 that “there is a new user report every few minutes complaining about accounts being taken over” - accompanied by a screenshot. If there was a problem with hacked accounts then, there still appears to be one now, judging by Twitter searches.

Anyway, it’s back, so there’s no issue. Right? Not exactly. In an email, Kaigan told us:

I’ve lost every single person that was 'following’ my podcast. I’ve lost all of my paid subscribers - when they deleted my podcast, the system then refunded each of my subscribers - and I had money sitting in my account from the last 4 months that I hadn’t withdrawn. All my stats are gone, too.

In spite of the podcast being back on Spotify, she was going to have to start all over again - no followers, no paid subscribers, no income, no stats. Worse, she claimed that Spotify had stopped responding to her emails.

We contacted a spokesperson at Spotify. They don’t comment on specific incidents with creators, but told us: “We’re working closely with the creator to quickly resolve this issue.” As far as we understand it, following our email to the company, Spotify has been able to restore stats, has emailed her former subscribers encouraging them to resubscribe, and has reimbursed the lost revenue. It’s a good step. However, Spotify won’t be able to magically get all her followers back from the many other podcast apps, like Apple Podcasts.

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This is a rare incident; though we’ve covered Spotify for Podcasters, formerly Anchor, removing accounts without notice before. Perhaps because it offers free podcast hosting accounts, Spotify for Podcasters has a large market share. It was responsible for publishing over 31% of all podcast episodes in February 2024, for example. Naturally, we’ll hear more stories like this about Spotify for Podcasters than we will about other podcast hosts: because there are more accounts. And, since it offers free accounts, Spotify for Podcasters is more likely to attract people that want to do bad things.

Mistakes will happen. Perhaps, though, if your podcasting has become a little more serious, it’s worth paying for podcast hosting with a smaller company - for the personal touch you get, even when things go wrong.

Kaigan agrees. “I’ve lost confidence in them,” she told us. “I will be switching hosting platform.”


Evolving Prisons
Kaigan Carrie
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