Spotify Acquires Live Audio App To Compete With Clubhouse

It looks like Spotify is entering a new era of streaming. The music giant, which has recently invested in prerecorded podcast content, will now be venturing into the world of live audio with its latest acquisition of Betty Labs, the company that oversees the popular app Locker Room.

“Live audio” is a media format that has taken off in the last couple of years thanks to Clubhouse, a social network built around voice communication. The app became popular for its catalog of real-time broadcasts, interviews, and conversations. With Locker Room under its belt, Spotify will have a direct competitor to Clubhouse in the live audio space, presenting a new opportunity for the streamer to expand its offerings beyond just music.

The value of the sale was not disclosed by Spotify; however, details of its first plans for Locker Room have been given. The app will remain in the App Store, but under a rebranded name for iOS and Android. Having been primarily geared for strictly live sports audio before, it will now widen its focus on other avenues such as music, news, and culture.

Gustav Söderström, Spotify’s chief R&D officer, said that anyone with an account will be able to host live sessions and not just approved creators. A “go live” option will be particularly useful to music channels as they can use the live audio feature to connect with their audiences or even to put on a real-time performance on stream. Such a feature directly pits the app against established competitors in the live audio space which, aside from Clubhouse, also includes Discord and Twitter Spaces. For now, Spotify and the upcoming Locker Room rebrand will operate separately.

“Maybe we’ll integrate some of these features, or all of these features in the future,” he told The Verge. “Spotify will also experiment with different monetization features. Some chats might be free to tune into, for example, while others are paid.”

Live audio seems like the perfect transition for Spotify after it made a heavy push into podcasting. Considering that many users record their Clubhouse chats and upload them as MP3 files into Anchor, Spotify’s podcast software, it only makes sense for the company to streamline the process and give their users a more seamless experience.

Spotify is not the only one jumping on the live audio train—Facebook, Amazon, and big investors such as Mark Cuban all have their own live audio projects in development. With live audio continuing to boom in the tech space, it’s likely that even more companies will soon join the race.