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Spotify jumps into the hot live audio trend with acquisition of Clubhouse rival Betty Labs

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Key Points
  • Spotify said Tuesday it's acquiring Betty Labs, the creators of live audio social app called Locker Room that's focused on sports.
  • The focus on social audio features rose to prominence last year with the launch of Clubhouse, which surged in popularity amid the pandemic.
  • Other social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are experimenting with live audio features.

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People walk by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on the morning that the music streaming service Spotify begins trading shares at the NYSE on April 3, 2018 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Spotify is moving into live audio.

The company said Tuesday it will buy Betty Labs, the makers of live audio social app Locker Room that's focused on sports. The terms of the deal were not announced.

Shares of Spotify closed up 2%.

In the coming months, the company said it plans to expand Locker Room into an "enhanced live audio experience" for more of its creators and fans.

Spotify is betting on the future of live, social audio with its acquisition of the Lightspeed Ventures and GV-backed company.

The focus on social audio features rose to prominence last year with the launch of Clubhouse, an invite-only app that's backed by Andreessen Horowitz, which surged in popularity amid the pandemic. Clubhouse has been downloaded 12.7 million times as of March 14, according to mobile data and analytics firm App Annie.

Users flocked to the app to gather in virtual rooms to discuss anything from bitcoin to wellness, looking to recreate in-person conversations.

Now, social media companies are entering the live audio space in an attempt to win some of that market. Twitter entered the competition with "Spaces" and has been rolling out the feature to more users. Meanwhile, Facebook is also working on a new audio chat product, according to The New York Times. Microsoft is also reportedly interested in buying the chatting app Discord for about $10 billion.

Spotify said Tuesday that its acquisition will help it leverage the company's "unparalleled data, insights, and strength in user experience, to build-out a full complement of live and on-demand offerings for users and creators across the globe."

The Betty Labs deal follows a flurry of acquisitions and deals from Spotify over the past couple of years.

Spotify's podcast library has been bolstered by high-profile deals like its acquisitions of Gimlet Media, Anchor, Parcast and The Ringer. It also bulked up its exclusive content by gaining the rights to Joe Rogan's podcast, and it has since signed TikTok influencer Addison Rae, Kim Kardashian WestDC Comics, Michelle Obama and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

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Clubhouse success leads to surge of competitors in the 'social audio' space