Spotify has acquired Locker Room, an audio-driven social app and Clubhouse competitor that debuted in October of 2020.
The Stockholm-based streaming platform unveiled the buyout (encompassing Locker Room itself as well as the app’s developer, Betty Labs) this morning, in a formal release. Per the announcement message, Spotify’s investment – the financial terms of which weren’t disclosed in the release – will set the stage for an accelerated “entry into the live audio space.”
On this front, the leading music streaming service intends in “the coming months” to “evolve and expand Locker Room into an enhanced live audio experience for a wider range of creators and fans.” And as part of this new experience, Spotify plans to “offer a range of sports, music, and cultural programming,” besides integrating “a host of interactive features that enable creators to connect with audiences in real time.”
Additionally, the release notes that Spotify will allow artists, songwriters, podcasters, athletes (Locker Room centers chiefly on connecting sports fans) and others “to host real-time discussions, debates, ask me anything (AMA) sessions, and more.” It’s unclear which individuals will be involved with the first of these events, but needless to say, the digital happenings appear particularly well-suited for podcasters.
Betty Labs, for its part, will continue operating as a division of Spotify, and the latter entity intends to leverage the startup’s “unparalleled data, insights, and strength in user experience to build out a full complement of live and on-demand offerings for users and creators across the globe.”
Addressing the transaction in a statement, Spotify’s chief research and development officer, Gustav Söderström, said: “Creators and fans have been asking for live formats on Spotify, and we’re excited that soon, we’ll make them available to hundreds of millions of listeners and millions of creators on our platform.
“The world already turns to us for music, podcasts, and other unique audio experiences, and this new live audio experience is a powerful complement that will enhance and extend the on-demand experience we provide today.”
More broadly, the investment arrives as Spotify looks to expand its content library – with the overarching goal of diversifying revenue streams – ahead of a potential slowdown in paid-subscriber growth. To be sure, the company dropped many millions on podcasts last year (including almost a quarter of a billion dollars on publishing and advertising platform Megaphone), kicked off 2021 by rolling out (celebrity-narrated) audiobooks, and is reportedly preparing to begin livestreaming concerts.
And while Spotify is considering a UK price increase amid this possible subscribership plateau, it doesn’t appear that rates will rise for stateside subscribers anytime soon.