Spotify is launching its own Clubhouse competitor

Photo by Michele Doying / The Verge

Spotify has invested heavily in prerecorded podcast content, and now, the company is looking to host live audio conversations. The platform announced today that it’s acquiring Betty Labs, the company behind the live sports audio app Locker Room. Spotify didn’t disclose how much it spent on the purchase.

As a result of the acquisition, Locker Room will stay live in the App Store but will be rebranded with a different name in the future on iOS and, eventually, Android with a broader focus on music, culture, and sports content. Spotify says it sees live audio as ideal for creators who want to connect with audiences in real time, whether that’s to premiere an album, host a question and answer session, or possibly even perform.

Gustav Söderström, chief R&D officer at Spotify, tells The Verge that Spotify will let anyone host conversations — not just approved creators — meaning its app will directly compete with all of the various live audio apps currently on the market, including Twitter Spaces, Clubhouse, and Discord. Although he says Spotify-employed creators won’t be required to go live only on Spotify’s app, he thinks it’ll be a “great complement” to their existing Spotify audiences. Still, the two apps will remain separate.

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

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

Broadly, audio content has become wildly popular in the tech space as the biggest names in the space look to invest in prerecorded podcast content as well as live audio. Amazon acquired podcast network Wondery last year, for example, while Clubhouse and Spaces launched last year, too. Facebook is even reportedly looking to build a live audio feature. Spotify, although it’s mostly focused on podcasting, is showing that companies 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 limit itself to just one format.

Correction 3/30, 9:14 AM ET: This story initially stated that Locker Room would temporarily be taken down from the App Store after Spotify’s acquisition. That is incorrect. It will stay live but eventually rebrand under a new name.

Comments

I would pay Spotify extra if they would just let me use it as the fucking music streaming app I signed up for in 2012.

Yep. I would embrace microtransactions if I can get rid of all attempts to make me play a podcast.

There’s no money in music streaming. That’s why everyone else got out of it. All the revenue gets eaten by royalties. Spotify is now a public company that’s spent the last decade generating ~$3 billion is losses. They are going to keep adding "features" in order to try and make money.

Spotify will not rest until they expand into every audio medium.

I might even consider paying Spotify if they’d just leave the sodding app alone ! and stop mucking about with it, it had everything I wanted in a music player but they keep taking stuff away and putting it back like a bunch of half wits at a fair.

I’d be ready to pay Spotify extra for a fucking dedicated podcast app.

I miss in-app app support. Spotify used to feature rich and practical to use with apps like Last.fm and lyrics support embedded within the desktop client.

You can just link your Spotify account to Last.fm from your Last.fm settings, IMO it’s better than doing it the other way around.

Everybody with an Apple Watch Since 2015: "Offline Playlists please!"
Spotify: "Podcasts! Lawsuits! Car Thing! Voice chat!"

The one thing that keeps me with Spotify is Spotify Connect. It’s really amazing when it works and I can’t give them enough credit for it. It feel like magic. However, if Apple manages to replicate that functionality with Apple Music before Spotify gets around to offline playlists on Apple Watch, then I’m done with Spotify.

So Spotify is basically doing the Facebook thing? Ignore the core of why people joined in the first place and copy/steal ideas badly until your app is so bloated it may as well be malware.

If only they had the technology to make a podcast tab. Just imagine.

Everyone: "Pay artists properly"

Spotify: spends hundreds of millions on podcasts

The image you chose kind of looks like Ubisoft logo.

Cool, they re-invented the radio.

Nice job! I hope that Spotify can also expand the devices it supports. So I can listen to Spotify anywhere with carrying my phone or convert Spotify to MP3 with Spotify to MP3 downloader in advance.

Cool, Spotify has invested heavily in prerecorded podcast content, and I can find many podcasts on it and use my Spotify Downloader to download Spotify podcasts to MP3 and other common files for playback offline on my portable devices.

Looking forward to getting to host live audio conversations, and then I can also download them as local files to listen to more news and improve my communication skills.

With this new launch, all Spotify users can access more special and exclusive content. Currently, with a Premium subscription, you can easily download your likes to your device. Also, use a Spotify downloader, you can get Spotify music to download with a free account easily.

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