Spotify Acquires Social Audio Platform Locker Room Parent Company Betty Labs
Spotify has acquired Betty Labs, the developer of sports-focused social audio platform Locker Room, for an undisclosed amount. The streaming service plans on getting into social audio and what it calls the “live audio space” as part of the recent wave of related platforms following Clubhouse’s explosion in popularity this year.
Spotify in the Locker Room
Spotify has been hinting for a couple of months that it wants to start creating live events to go with its existing streaming options. With Locker Room, it plans to do just that, albeit with a broader range of topics than sports. The live experiences will include its own version of radio shows and programs, but with more options for creators and audiences to interact during the event. The idea, much like Locker Room, is a more controlled version of the rooms on Clubhouse, with the platform having more of a say over who can create the rooms and moderate them. Spotify wants to use it as a virtual venue for artists, athletes, and other notable people to host audio-only presentations and debates.
“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 chief research and development officer Gustav Söderström said in a statement. “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.”
Social Audio Success
Spotify’s acquisition is part of this year’s flurry of new social audio options. The industry seemed to hit critical mass when Clubhouse passed 10 million users in late February. Now, startups like Quilt and Swell are grabbing headlines and investment money. Though Spotify went for acquiring a social audio startup, other platforms are making their own, leading to the debut of Twitter Spaces, Instagram Live Rooms, the new Telegram Voice Chats. Just this week, Slack began testing out a social audio feature of its own, one slightly ironically announced in a Clubhouse room. Spotify may not be alone in going the purchase route, however, as rumors have hinted that Microsoft might buy Discord and its popular social audio service for $10 billion. The acquisition of Betty Labs comes only half a year after the startup first launched Locker Room. The company had already drawn investors, including Lightspeed Venture Partners, GV, and Precursor Ventures, but clearly decided the offer was too good to refuse. The team will be moving wholesale to Spotify to help launch its social audio experiences.
“We are excited to join forces with Spotify and contribute to building the future of audio—we’ll invest more in our product, open the experience to Spotify’s audience, diversify our content offerings, and continue expanding the community we’ve built,” Betty Labs CEO Howard Akumiah said. “With Spotify, we’ll continue to offer the best home for sports fans and use the lessons we’ve learned along the way to create the ultimate destination for live conversation around music and culture.”