Spotify on Tuesday said it has acquired Betty Labs, the company behind the sports-focused live audio app Locker Room. The deal comes as live audio app Clubhouse has gained traction during the pandemic, offering users a chance to listen to a wide range of in-the-moment conversations that have included stars like Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but The Wall Street Journal reported the deal is worth about $50 million.
Los Angeles-based Betty Labs launched Locker Room in October — about six months after Clubhouse debuted — as a spot for sports fans to talk about their favorite teams and topics. In a press release announcing the deal, Spotify said the acquisition will “accelerate” the company’s push into live audio.
“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,” Gustav Söderström, Spotify’s chief research and development officer, 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.”
The live audio space has become a key focus for many tech giants in the last few months, following Clubhouse’s rise. Clubhouse, since easing its invitation-only restrictions at the beginning of the year, saw its user base grow from about 2 million at the end of 2020 to about 10 million users by mid-February. Its early success drew the attention of both Facebook and Twitter, with the latter recently launching Spaces, its own live audio chat feature. Meanwhile, Facebook is reportedly looking to launch its own Clubhouse clone.
The Betty Labs acquisition builds on Spotify’s goal of being “the world’s number one audio platform,” as CEO Daniel Ek has said in the past. Over the last few years, Spotify has expanded beyond its musical roots and bet big on podcasting, signing major deals with podcast stars like Joe Rogan and Bill Simmons. Now, it’ll look to keep users on the app longer by funneling them to live conversations on Spotify, rather than having them jump to Clubhouse or Twitter.
Spotify’s stock price was up 2.8% in early trading on Tuesday to nearly $260 per share.
Read original story Spotify Takes Aim at Clubhouse With Acquisition of Sports-Focused Live Audio App At TheWrap