Mar 30, 2021 - Economy

Spotify acquires Betty Labs, creator of live audio app Locker Room

Illustration of podcast symbol with headphones on and smiling

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Spotify announced Tuesday it's buying Betty Labs, an app developer, and a live audio app developed by Betty Labs called Locker Room.

Why it matters: The deal marks Spotify's first foray into social audio. The company said last month that it was looking at ways to make its podcast more interactive between creators and listeners.

Details: While deal terms haven't been announced, sources say the scope of this deal is much smaller than some of Spotify's other recent acquisitions. Betty Labs employs less than 20 people, per LinkedIn.

  • Locker Room is a live social audio app where fans can talk about sports. Spotify said in a statement that in coming months, it will "evolve and expand" Locker Room into "an enhanced live audio experience for a wider range of creators and fans," including in genres like music, and cultural programming.
  • The acquisition will allow creators of all kinds to host anything from debates to live concerts.
  • “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,” said Gustav Söderström, Chief Research & Development Officer at Spotify.

The big picture: The pandemic has ushered in a new wave of audio startups — most notably Clubhouse — that focus on social audio experiences, like live chats and events.

  • It's no surprise that Spotify would want to get in on the trend, given that other tech giants — from Facebook to Slack — are also beginning to test out social audio features.
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