Por Elizabeth Culliford

NEW YORK, Mar 30 (Reuters) – Spotify Inc said Tuesday it has bought Betty Labs, the company behind sports-focused social audio app Locker Room, to accelerate its move to live audio.

New voice-based platforms, including the invitation-only social app Clubhouse, have seen rapid growth in recent months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Locker Room, launched in October 2020, became a popular app for sports fans to chat and party.

The music streaming service said the Locker Room will “evolve and expand” in the coming months to offer sports, music and cultural programming, as well as live discussions with professional athletes, musicians and other personalities.

“Creators and fans have been asking for live formats on Spotify, and we are excited that we will soon make them available to hundreds of millions of listeners and millions of creators on our platform,” said Gustav Söderström, Spotify’s Head of Research and Development. .

The company did not disclose the cost of the acquisition. Betty Labs was initially backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners and later by GV, the venture capital arm of Alphabet Inc and Precursor Ventures. Last October, Betty Labs raised $ 9.3 million in seed funding led by GV.

“We are excited to join forces with Spotify and continue to build the future of audio – we will invest more in our product, open up the experience to Spotify audiences, diversify our content offering and continue to expand the community we have built,” said the founder and CEO of Betty Labs, Howard Akumiah.

Spotify has also entered the podcasting segment, it has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to increase its variety of podcasts, launched an advertising market for that type of programming.

Screenshots shared by a Twitter user last week showed that Spotify was polling some users on how often they used Clubhouse.

Twitter Inc is also testing Spaces, a live audio app, which it plans to launch publicly in April, and Facebook Inc is reported to be dabbling in its own live audio offering.

(By Elizabeth Culliford; Edited in Spanish by Juana Casas)

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