spotify live app screenshot

Spotify is shutting down its live-audio app Spotify Live, but says it will continue experimenting with live features in its main service.

Spotify Live is the app previously called Spotify Greenroom, which in turn was previously called Locker Room, acquired in 2021 when Spotify bought its creator, startup Betty Labs.

Locker Room was a sports-focused version of Clubhouse, the social-audio app that was creating a huge buzz in tech circles at the time.

Spotify paid €57m for Betty Labs in March 2021, promising to “evolve and expand Locker Room into an enhanced live audio experience for a wider range of creators and fans”.

The app was rebranded Spotify Greenroom and relaunched in June that year, with Spotify commissioning several radio-style live shows focusing on sports, music, entertainment and lifestyle. It was renamed again in April 2022, to Spotify Live, and integrated into Spotify’s main app.

However, by the end of 2022 Clubhouse’s star had waned, while Facebook – which characteristically had rushed to launch its own version – had pulled back from live audio. Meanwhile, Spotify cancelled several of Spotify Live’s original shows.

Now Spotify Live is itself being cancelled, with users being delivered the news this afternoon.

“After a period of experimentation and learnings around how Spotify users interact with live audio, we’ve made the decision to sunset the Spotify Live app,” a Spotify spokesperson told Music Ally.

“We believe there is a future for live fan-creator interactions in the Spotify ecosystem; however, based on our learnings, it no longer makes sense as a standalone app.”

“We have seen promising results in the artist-focused use case of “listening parties,” which we will continue to explore moving forward to facilitate live interactions between artists and fans,” added the spokesperson.

€57m is a lot to pay for an app that you shut down two years later, even if you do learn some useful lessons along the way.

Spotify Live’s demise will be seen as a setback for the streaming service’s ambitions to expand beyond music into other kinds of audio, as part of its long-term plan to compete with radio for listeners and advertising budgets alike.

Podcasts have been a hit for Spotify – albeit an expensive one in terms of investment – but live audio clearly has not been as popular.

Meanwhile, it is still too early to judge its expansion into audiobooks, but the company itself has admitted – albeit blaming Apple – that its user interface for those books is “complicated and confusing”.

On the positive side, listening parties – where fans gather to listen to and chat about a new album as it is released – seem like a logical area for Spotify to focus on. Indeed, the April 2022 rebrand to Spotify Live was launched with a Swedish House Mafia release party.

Listening parties should also mesh well with a new feature Spotify announced last month: ‘Countdown Pages’. These will be hubs where fans can pre-save new albums, watch artists’ videos, pre-order merch and preview tracklistings.

These pages would be the logical launchpads for listening parties, and thus a place for the Locker Room / Greenroom / Spotify Live functionality to live on, even as its standalone app is retired.

Music Ally understands that while Spotify is moving away from original programming on the live side, some of the Spotify Live shows will continue as non-live podcasts on its service.

Live broadcasts remain part of the music streaming ecosystem through other companies, meanwhile. Amazon launched its Amp user-created radio app in March 2022, although some of its staff were laid off in October that year.

Amazon Music has also launched a number of music-focused live video shows in partnership with its sister service Twitch. Live video is also a prominent part of YouTube, while Apple Music continues to run its suite of live radio stations.

Startup Stationhead, which pioneered the ‘live radio meets streaming music’ crossover, is also going from strength to strength, including holding release parties of its own.

Having raised a $12m funding round in July 2022, it has been working with artists including BTS, Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, Imagine Dragons and Olivia Rodrigo.

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