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Spotify buys Betty Labs, the firm behind Locker Room app

Spotify (NYSE: SPOT ) Inc said on Tuesday it has bought Betty Labs, the company behind sports-focused social audio app Locker Room, to accelerate its move into live audio.

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

Locker Room, released in October 2020, became a popular app for sports fans to chat and hold parties.

The streaming music service said it will “evolve and expand” the Locker Room 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’re excited that we’ll soon be making them available to hundreds of millions of listeners and millions of creators on our platform,” said Gustav Söderström, Head of Research and Development at Spotify. .

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 (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) Inc, and Precursor Ventures. Last October, Betty Labs raised $9.3 million in seed funding led by GV.

“We’re excited to join forces with Spotify and continue to build the future of audio – investing more in our product, opening up the experience to Spotify’s audience, diversifying our content offering, and continuing to expand the community we’ve built,” said Founder and CEO of Betty Labs, Howard Akumiah.

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

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

Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR ) is also testing Spaces, a live audio app, which it plans to launch publicly in April, and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB ) is reportedly making inroads into its own live audio offering.

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