Spotify Acquires Sports-Talk App
Spotify Technology SA is making its move into live audio by acquiring the sports-talk app Locker Room and its maker Betty Labs. The deal values the company, initially backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners, and more recently by Google Ventures and Precursor Ventures, at around $50 million, according to a person familiar with the transaction. If certain targets are met, the value could climb closer to $80 million, this person said.
Locker Room has quickly become the spot for fan chatter around games and sports news, with the likes of Miami Heat forward Andre Iguodala and Philadelphia 76ers guard Seth Curry to podcaster Ant Wright and ESPN’s Jeff Darlington dropping in for conversations as well. It filled a real-time, interactive void for sports fans left by the inability to gather in arenas, stadiums and bars during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
The Locker Room app launched in October 2020 as a digital place sports fans could connect to discuss games. Spotify said it has plans to expand Locker Room beyond sports, and offer a mix of music, culture and more. “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,” said Gustav Soderstrom, chief research and development officer at Spotify.
“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,” Söderström added. Spotify held its first interactive Stream On event last month as it looks “to further unlock audio’s potential.”
In the coming months, the Swedish audio streaming platform has its expansion plans set on the possibilities of the live audio space. It is seeking to enhance the Locker Room user experience and reach a broader base of creators and fans. Advanced interactive features will be implemented to bring the creator and fan relationship into the live arena for real-time connections. Global voices from all professions will also get a chance to host live discussions and debates.
Betty Labs founder and chief executive officer Howard Akumiah said the company is looking forward “to building the future of audio” as part of Spotify.