Spotify acquires Betty Labs, creator of the Locker Room live audio app, to launch its own competitor Clubhouse



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Spotify has invested heavily in pre-recorded podcast content, and now the company is looking to host live audio conversations. The platform today announced the acquisition of Betty Labs, the company behind the Locker Room live sports audio app. Spotify did not disclose how much it spent on the purchase.

Following the acquisition, Locker Room will remain online in the App Store but will be renamed with a different name in the future on iOS and eventually Android with a broader focus on music, culture and content. athletic. Spotify says it considers live audio ideal for creators who want to connect with audiences in real time, whether it’s creating an album, hosting a question and answer session, or maybe even performing.

Gustav Söderström, R&D director at Spotify, tells The edge that Spotify will allow anyone to host conversations – not just approved creators – meaning its app will compete directly with all of the different live audio apps out there right now, including the Twitter, Clubhouse, and Discord spaces. While he says creators employed by Spotify won’t be forced to upload just to the Spotify app, he believes it will be a “great addition” to their existing Spotify audiences. However, the two applications will remain separate.

“But who knows, maybe we will integrate some or all of these features in the future,” says Söderström. Spotify will also experiment with different monetization features, he says. Some chats can be free, for example, while others are paid.

Of course, the live audio from the app will then become a direct funnel to Spotify’s podcasting ecosystem. Söderström says people are already recording their Spaces and Clubhouse chats and uploading them as MP3 files to Anchor, Spotify’s podcast creation and hosting software. “We might want to make this more transparent,” he says. It’s easy to imagine the business allowing people to natively record their chats and press a button to distribute them directly to Spotify.

Globally, audio content has become very popular in the tech space as the biggest names in the space look to invest in pre-recorded podcast content as well as live audio. Amazon acquired the Wondery podcast network last year, for example, while Clubhouse and Spaces also launched last year. Facebook is even reportedly looking to create a live audio feature. Spotify, while primarily focused on podcasting, shows that businesses can have access to both worlds: live audio recording can grow its podcasting catalog and simultaneously promote the streamable music that lives on its app. It doesn’t need to be limited to just one format.

Correction 3/30, 9:14 am ET: This story initially indicated that Locker Room would be temporarily removed from the App Store after the acquisition of Spotify. This is incorrect. It will stay online but eventually change its name to a new name.

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