Spotify said Tuesday it has acquired the company behind the live audio app Locker Room, giving the music and podcast platform a new foothold in a space that has seen a surge of interest following the rise of the app Clubhouse.
The company, Betty Labs, launched Locker Room in October as a sports-focused platform for live audio conversations. Spotify said it plans to "evolve and expand" the app "into an enhanced live audio experience for a wider range of creators and fans."
Locker Room will soon expand and rebrand to become more like Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces: a forum for live conversations about music, culture and all manner of topics.
“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,” Spotify's chief research and development officer Gustav Söderström said in a statement.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Spotify will also use its machine-learning technology to organize the live audio experience and cater programming to users based on their interests, potentially giving it an edge over Clubhouse and other competitors. It is also likely to lean on its exclusive podcasting talent which includes Joe Rogan, Bill Simmons and Prince Harry and Megan, Duchess of Sussex.
The acquisition comes amid a surge of interest in live audio following the meteoric rise of Clubhouse, an app that has drawn more than 10 million users in under a year, amassed a $1 billion-plus valuation and inspired Facebook, Twitter and others to develop their own Clubhouse competitors.
Spotify founder and chief executive Daniel Ek has said that he believes on-demand programming will maintain supremacy over live audio. But the appeal of adding a live service like Locker Room gives big-name podcasters and the average user the ability to easily and quickly create content at zero cost and distribute that conversation to a network of followers.
For Spotify, a company that has already invested hundreds of millions in exclusive podcasting content, social audio also means podcasters like Rogan and Simmons could now broadcast in real time, rather than on delay, while musicians might one day be able to broadcast their concerts or other recordings live to listeners.
“The world already turns to us for music, podcasts and other unique audio experiences," Söderström said, "and this new live audio experience is a powerful complement that will enhance and extend the on-demand experience we provide today."