When I saw rumors of Slack testing social audio features, I knew the Clubhouse hype had reached peak levels. Like TikTok, the invite-only live audio experience has become the thing every cool creator wants access to. Unlike photos on Instagram, groups on Facebook, and threads on Twitter, being to hear those you’re speaking with provides the type of online intimacy creators have only dreamed of. It’s completely unsurprising to see other platforms replicating this type of connection. At this point, it’s more interesting to see which one is the best competitor. In my humble opinion, Spotify occupies that top spot. Here’s what we know so far about its live audio feature.
According to The Verge and multiple other outlets, Spotify has acquired Betty Labs, which owns Locker Room, a live sports audio app—no word on how much they paid for it. The apps will remain separate, though Locker Room will be rebranded with a new name and broader focus in the future. That being said, Locker Room remains available for download in app stores if you want to check it out now.
Unlike Clubhouse, which is invite-only, Spotify’s live audio feature will be accessible to anyone. Users will also have the option of hosting conversations within the Spotify app or through the to-be-renamed Locker Room app.
Gustav Söderström, chief R&D officer at Spotify, also told The Verge that the company will experiment with different monetization features. “Some chats might be free to tune into, for example, while others are paid,” he said.
This development feels like a seamless integration into Spotify’s existing features and expanding podcast portfolio. It’s the most popular streaming music app in the world and according to Söderström, “people already record their Spaces and Clubhouse chats and upload them as MP3 files to Anchor, Spotify’s podcast creation and hosting software.”
It might be most appealing to musicians. “Spotify says it sees live audio as ideal for creators who want to connect with audiences in real time, whether that’s to premiere an album, host a question and answer session, or possibly even perform.”
Will increasing engagement within an already-existing audio app be easier than mastering a completely new one? We’ll just have to wait and see—or, should we say, hear.
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