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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.

Go deeper

Exclusive: Texas nonprofit got massive border contract after hiring Biden official

Migrants attempting to enter the United States from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Photo: David Peinado/Xinhua via Getty Images

A Texas nonprofit that recently hired a Biden transition official got a contract worth as much as $530 million to help manage the influx of migrant children at the southern border, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The contract is by far the largest ever awarded to Family Endeavors. It's potentially worth more than 12 times the group's most recently reported annual budget — a sign of the demand the new work will place on its operations.

40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: $1 million ad buy defends Georgia law to business critics

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A leading conservative group is targeting the business community with a seven-figure ad buy on CNBC and local TV defending Georgia's new voting law from its corporate critics, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: By focusing on the C-suite through a network it watches, Heritage Action for America is offering a rejoinder to some companies — even Major League Baseball — after they waded so prominently into politics.

42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Advocates, Democrats plan to push major pot reform

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Advocates and lawmakers favoring marijuana reform are trying to capitalize on the social justice movement and COVID-19 economic rebound to legalize and normalize the use of pot.

Why it matters: The supporters are also trying to take advantage of polls showing broad public support — and get ahead of the reality Democrats could lose their control of Congress after the midterm elections next year.