Dan Le Batard Credit: The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz

Days after his audience identified a glitch in Spotify Wrapped listenership data, Dan Le Batard accused the company of fudging its numbers for The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, which often posts as many as a half-dozen episodes on its audio feed per day.

While promoting the opening of a new show merch store on Monday, Le Batard threw a jab at Spotify for “junking up the numbers” and depressing the show’s listenership and rankings on its platform.

“I can’t have our customer base that supports us most loyally than any customer base. It’s how we bill (advertisers) the way we do,” Le Batard said. “It’s because they listen for more hours than anybody, no matter what Spotify does to junk up the numbers. They deserve (merch) to be cheaper than everybody else.”

On Tuesday while discussing an episode of Meadowlark Media’s NFL podcast hosted by Jon “Stugotz” Weiner, Le Batard once again went in on Spotify. Le Batard said God Bless Football could one day join the main show streaming on Max, but it was a toss-up whether the audience could find it on Spotify.

“You can’t tell whether it’s on Spotify or not because the numbers are jerryrigged,” Le Batard said.

Executive producer Mike Ryan Ruiz then asked Le Batard to cut out the beef with Spotify. But Le Batard was likely just responding to his audience.

Last week, a Le Batard Show fan account corralled a thread calling out the questionable Wrapped numbers. The user posted a screenshot of their Wrapped list which featured a weekly movie podcast in the Le Batard Show universe called Cinephobe atop the user’s Wrapped list. That show releases a couple-hour episode weekly while the Le Batard Show releases more content than that daily.

The user also highlighted how the overall Top Sports Podcasts list from Spotify curiously did not feature the Le Batard Show. Yet Spotify’s sports pod rankings included three podcasts from The Ringer, which it owns.

However, these issues predate any 2023 Spotify Wrapped conspiracy.

For years, Ringer founder Bill Simmons and host Ryen Russillo have exchanged barbs over these numbers. And while it may seem like nothing more than petty media beef (and maybe it is), these metrics have ripple effects within the business. Similar to Amazon’s finagling with Nielsen ratings for Thursday Night Football, Spotify’s potential to juice its own shows’ numbers can set back other shows that are downgraded as a result.

Ryan’s request of Le Batard to cut the smack talk likely means Meadowlark Media (which produces the Le Batard Show) is amenably solving the problem with Spotify management. And Le Batard himself has acknowledged the show suffered in quality in recent months. So listenership could truly just be down.

The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle, and Le Batard feels disrespected that a tech company is getting between he and his audience as well as his company’s revenue.

[The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.