Spotify to Host Live Audio Conversations with Acquisition of Clubhouse Competitor Betty Labs
With live audio platforms on the rise, companies are finding ways to capitalize on the new opportunity. It is no surprise that audio giant Spotify has announced they are acquiring Betty Labs, a competitor to apps like Clubhouse that host live audio conversations.
Betty Labs is responsible for the live sports audio platform Locker Room, which gives users exclusive access to live conversations with sports insiders and fans. The app is set to remain in the app store with a rebrand focusing on music and culture in addition to sports.
Spotify sees this live audio platform as an opportunity to provide a space for artists and music fans to host live conversations and Q&As, premiere albums, and even perform music. They plan to expand the features and audience of Locker Room to create an enhanced experience for their creators and fans. Spotify and its new audio app will remain two separate platforms, but the goal is to have them integrate seamlessly for users.
In an effort to monetize this new live audio feature, Spotify is exploring the potential for some conversations to be offered free to users while others may be paid. They have also disclosed that Spotify-employed creators will not be required to host live conversations through the new feature, but the company believes it could greatly benefit creators and their audiences.
Spotify joins a long list of companies and social platforms looking to branch out into the live audio space, following Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, and even Amazon. If anything is clear for the future of social platforms, it is that live audio features are going to be at the center of attention in the coming year.
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.
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.