One of the most popular topics on social media this week has been the tension between music streaming giant Spotify (NYSE:SPOT) and one of its popular artists. Neil Young has taken a stand against the platform, accusing it of fostering the spread of vaccine misinformation. After popular podcast host Joe Rogan was accused by scientists of spreading false information about the Covid-19 vaccine, Young issued an ultimatum in the form of a letter to his record label — Spotify could either remove his content or Rogan’s from the platform. It didn’t take long for #CancelSpotify and #DeleteSpotify to start trending on Twitter. Is competitor Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock about to reap the benefits?
What’s Happening with AAPL stock
This has been a month of gradual decline for SPOT while AAPL stock has done the opposite. Spotify shares are down 12% over the past five days and 27% for the month.
On the other hand, Apple is kicking off 2022 on a slightly better note. After reporting quarterly results, the Big Tech giant will have gained nearly 5% this week. However, Apple has also been impacted by market volatility, leaving its shares down 5% in the year to date.
Granted, Apple and Spotify have had other news moving shares. But given the national outcry against the streaming giant, AAPL stock is worth a closer look. What are some of its recent drivers?
Why It Matters
Like many other companies, Apple just reported earnings for Q4 2021. This year’s earnings call brought plenty of good news. The company reported $123.9 billion in revenue, topping Wall Street expectations. Its high performance was due in part to the holiday season, with iPhone sales accounting for a significant portion of earnings. AAPL stock holders had plenty of reason to be optimistic heading into 2022.
Beyond earnings though, Apple has been driving attention this week on social media for a different reason. Social media users have made it clear that they will follow the popular hashtags and delete Spotify.
I just migrated all my music to Apple Music and canceled Spotify Premium. And I told them I was leaving because they canceled Neil Young and kept Joe Rogan. Feels as good as when I switched from AT&T to Verizon.
— Cinder, Esq ⚖️🌊 (@JaneBaileysKid) January 27, 2022
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) January 28, 2022
Apple recognized an opportunity and seized it.
The home of Neil Young.
— Apple Music (@AppleMusic) January 28, 2022
What It Means
This story is a good reminder of why it’s important to examine these instances from a macroeconomic perspective. Will the bad press for Spotify prove to be a significant booster for AAPL stock? Not likely. However, this is an excellent PR opportunity for Apple, exactly the type that could end up helping it in the long run.
And importantly, Apple Music presents a catalyst for investors beyond Neil Young. While the iPhone 13 was the star of the Q4 report, services drove the second-largest category. Apple services revenue came in at nearly $20 billion. These services have now raked in more than 780 million paying customers.
For investors then, the Young-Rogan battle allows them to take a side with Apple. Apple’s services success will in turn help reward them with an increasingly healthy AAPL stock.
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.