Spotify Goes Live With Locker Room Pickup

Locker room talk wasn’t always suited for public consumption. But Spotify is betting big on an app that’s turned the concept on its head.

The streaming platform made its first live audio acquisition Tuesday, snapping up Betty Labs. The firm is behind live audio social app Locker Room, a sports-focused Clubhouse rival where fans and athletes alike chat about games and more in audio rooms.

Next Move is Outside the Lines

It’s not quite tailgating but it’ll do. Locker Room launched in October and quickly became the go-to online sports hangout for thousands of fans. Pro ballers like three-time NBA champion Andre Iguodala and Philadelphia 76ers guard Seth Curry have also popped in.

The app has 19,000 installs — 8,000 of them in this month alone, a 60% growth over February. That led Spotify to come calling.

  • Spotify plans to expand Locker Room outside the lines of sports to include music and pop culture. Live concerts, DJ sets and “ask me anything” sessions are all on the menu.
  • They’ll also let any user — world-renowned singer or a local garage band — upload live sessions for wider distribution.

“Our creators have been asking for a long time to be able to be more interactive with fans,” said Gustav Söderström, Spotify’s chief R&D officer. “The most effective way is to actually speak to them live.”

Live is Thriving

Spotify’s plans for Locker Room pit it head-to-head against Twitter Spaces, Water Cooler, Clubhouse, and Discord in a highly competitive and growing live audio market.

Voice-based social networks —which allow spontaneous conversations between users — proved a revelation during a pandemic year with people stranded at home.

Clubhouse, the hottest app of the bunch, has exploded with more than 10 million users and was valued at $1 billion in January.

the takeaway

Spotify doesn’t mess around when it enters a new arena. Its recent podcast push —burnished by a run of flashy acquisitions — paid off. Its U.S. podcast listenership is on track to surpass Apple Podcasts for the first time this year.

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