The song was ranked number 22 on NME magazine's list of the "Singles of the Year".
For most of U2's Innocence + Experience Tour, the group has used "People Have the Power" as its entrance music. Smith herself joined them to close their show with the song at London's O2 Arena on October 29, 2015, as well as the December 6, 2015 show at Accorhotels Arena in Paris. On December 7, to close their show at Accorhotels Arena, U2 invited The Eagles of Death Metal to sing this song, for their first public live performance after the slaughter which occurred during their show at the Bataclan in Paris on November 13, 2015.
The song was used as intro music for the August 4, 2015 episode of The Opie & Jim Norton show. The song drew the ire of listeners, so two different covers were played to open the August 5 and August 6, 2015 shows..