Spotify Acquires Live Audio Hosting App Betty Labs to Compete with Clubhouse

Audio streaming app Spotify has announced its recent acquisition of black-owned Betty Labs, creators of the Locker Room app.

In a press release, Spotify said the acquisition aligns with its plans to create “future formats of audio” and make its own live audio content. The audio platform says it will continue to expand the live audio experiences in the coming months to attract more creators and fans. The company, however, didn’t disclose the purchase amount.

“Creators and fans have been asking for live formats on Spotify, and we’re excited that soon, we’ll make them available to hundreds of millions of listeners and millions of creators on our platform,” said Gustav Söderström, Chief Research and Development Officer at Spotify. “The world already turns to us for music, podcasts, and other unique audio experiences, and this new live audio experience is a powerful complement that will enhance and extend the on-demand experience we provide today.”

Spotify has grown to become a leading audio platform in the market. The platform has invested heavily in prerecorded podcast content, over the years, now it is on the path to hosting live audio conversations on its platform.

Betty Labs is a team of creators, designers, and engineers committed to creating interactive sports-focused experiences. One of its known creations is the Locker Room app which gives sports fans an online platform to talk about their favorite teams and related topics. The app hit the market in October 2020 and has a 4.6 rating out of 5 in Apple’s App Store. Betty Labs was founded by Howard Akumiah in 2018 and has since secured capital from VC firms like Lightspeed Venture Partners, Precursor Ventures, and GV.

Upon completion of the acquisition, Locker Room will remain live in the Apple App Store, but under a different name. It will only be available on iOS for a little longer, and eventually, expand to Android, and will focus on a broader scope of music, culture, and sports. According to Spotify, live audio creates a perfect opportunity for creators who want to connect with audiences in real-time to perform live, host a question and answer question, or premier an album.

Söderström told The Verge that hosting will open to everyone – not just approved creators. Spotify is set to compete with several top-rated live audio apps on the market, including Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, and Discord. Although he said Spotify employed creators are not allowed to host conversations on the app. But he thinks it will be a “great complement” to their current Spotify audiences. The two apps will remain separate, but will likely have some of their features or all their features integrated in the future, he said.

The Spotify R&D leader added that the live audio from the app will eventually become a direct funnel to Spotify’s podcasting ecosystem. He said people already their Clubhouse and Spaces chats and upload them to Anchor, Spotify’s podcast and pre-recorded audio hosting app.

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