The live audio experience will be accepted by all major platforms, as Stories did, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told investors at a press conference on April 28. talked. Spotify recently acquired Locker Room, a live audio app. Locker Room’s technology will be used to develop various kinds of new live audio, mainly in sports, culture and, of course, music.
Investors are curious about how Locker Room fits into Spotify’s current service, as the company specializes in playing recorded content music and podcasts and has little experience in the live social networking space. It was a pity.
Reflecting what much of the industry is already considering, he sees live audio as a new feature that is widely accepted by everyone, Ek said. He called it the next “Stories”. Stories is a feature that became popular with Snapchat, but gradually appeared on every platform.
“It’s no different from Stories,” he said, explaining his thoughts on live audio. “Stories exists today in a number of platform formats, including Spotify, of course Instagram, Snap, and more, so I really see live audio as a compelling feature, and creators want it. We believe we’ll work where we have the best fan affinity for our interactions, which is pretty similar to how Stories has worked so far.”
In other words, each platform may attract certain types of live audio creators, and Spotify sees potential in the areas of music and culture. In terms of culture, it’s thanks to the big investment in podcasts so far.
Interest in live audio arose during the pandemic. People were trapped in their homes and big events like traditional networking and conferences were banned. But that does not mean that there is no future when the world heads for the post-corona world.
Of course, Clubhouse is interested in the live audio space as the exclusive invitation system attracts identified networkers (and those who want to be popular) who want to join the next big thing. The achievements collected are recognized.
But Tesla founder Elon Musk, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, actor-to-investor Ashton Kutcher, Drake, As the app became more popular with Oprah and many other big-name celebrity guests, other tech companies began to pay attention. Soon, many cloned Clubhouse.
Today, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, Discord, Telegram, and even LinkedIn have plans or services for live audio in various stages of development.
But instead of starting from scratch, Spotify has acquired it. Originally a place to discuss sports, Spotify has live audio for more professional athletes and writers, musicians, songwriters, podcasters, and “other global voices” who want to host real-time conversations. Will be available soon Locker Room’s service will be rebranded as “Spotify Greenroom,” Ek said in a company podcast.
At its first quarterly press conference since the acquisition was announced, investors asked if Spotify believes spoken audio is more interesting than music streaming.
Ek explained that spoken content is just the beginning of what’s coming as an evolution of the format.
“As more people start working on features in the medium, you start to see more professional creators join, so I think we’ll probably start with spoken content first,” Ek said.
“But when it comes to Spotify, I think there are a lot of musicians who want to talk to their fans, hold listening parties, and do a lot of other things, because for musicians, the Spotify platform is our company. It’s clear that engagement can lead to a meaningful shift to sales opportunities, even on the basis of our sales model base.”
Spotify said the most requests it received from more than 8 million creators were to have more ways to connect with its fans. Given Spotify’s reach of over 350 million users, live audio is, by its very nature, a fairly direct way for musicians to connect with their fans.
In other words, live audio is not a scenario for music streaming, as investor questions have implied. One is more than a loop involving the other. And obviously “live” can mean music, not just chat.
For example, when an artist wants to promote an album, “as a fan, you may experience it faster than other consumers,” Ek hinted. Is it true?
Artists can also use live audio to talk about their thoughts on songwriting. This is similar to the already available “Behind the Lyrics” integration.
“I think it really depends on the quality of the content,” Ek said. “If you look at the 8 million creators, the best storytellers in the world are on the platform. Ultimately, that’s what people listen to, and that’s what matters.”
But what can be difficult is moderation of live content. Live audio is a whole new challenge for any company, as conversations can quickly go crazy. And Spotify’s position on the line between free speech and crackdowns on misinformation and inappropriate content is still a bit unclear.
For example, the company’s top podcaster Joe Rogan recently advised listeners not to vaccinate against the new coronavirus if they are young and healthy. Spotify declined to comment on this peculiar dispute. But it removed more than 40 episodes from the same podcast. Some of the removals, such as episodes about bullet-proof coffee and its health benefits, don’t seem to violate the rules.
Before moving into live audio, Spotify may want to first solidify the value of creators’ content. You’ll also need a careful, worst-case scenario of what happens when a live session jumps out of range.
Despite Ek’s optimism about live audio, Spotify’s share price fell sharply after the earnings report, with signs of slowing growth due to increasing pressure from rivals like Apple and Amazon.
Spotify increased its paid subscribers by 3 million in the first quarter, but it didn’t reach the expected number of monthly active users and fell short of full-year guidance. Sales in the quarter were $2.52 billion, up 16% year-on-year, but down 1% compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, raising concerns.
But if Spotify does the integration well, live audio may make fans want to use Spotify more often in the future.
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.