Spotify CEO says live audio content is the next ‘Stories’ – TechCrunch

by Jeremy

Every central platform will adopt live audio experiences just like Stories have been, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told investors on Wednesday’s earnings call. The streaming service recently acquired a live audio app, Locker Room, whose technology it expects to use to power a range of new live audio conversations centered around sports, culture, and, of course, music. Investors were curious how exactly Locker Room would fit in with Spotify’s current offerings, given the streamer

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today is focused on delivering recorded content — music and podcasts — and not some live social networking experience. Ek, mirroring what many in the industry have already been thinking, said he sees live audio as a new set of capabilities that all will broadly adopt. He dubbed it the following “Stories” — a feature popularized by Snapchat, eventually making its way to every platform. It’s no different than how you think about Stories,” Ek said, explaining his thoughts on live audio. “Stories today exist on a format on several platforms, including Spotify, including, of course, Instagram, Snap, and many others. So, I do look at [live audio] as a compelling feature set

I think creators will engage in the places where they have the best sort of creator-to-fan affinity for the type of interactions they’re looking for. And I think this is very similar to say how Stories played out historically. In other words, each platform may attract a certain kind of live audio creator, and Spotify sees its potential in the realm of music and culture — the latter thanks to its existing and expansive investments in podcasts.

The interest in live audio emerged in the middle of a pandemic that trapped people at home and shut down traditional networking and significant events like conferences. But that doesn’t mean there’s no future for the format when the world opens back up. Of course, Clubhouse gets credit for driving interest in the live audio space as its exclusive invite-only status attracted a crowd of determined networkers (and clout-chasers) looking to participate in the next big thing. But as the app grew more popular, snagging big-name celeb guests — like Tesla founder Elon Musk, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, actor-turned-investor Ashton Kutcher, Drake, Oprah, and more — other tech companies began to take notice. Soon, everyone was building a Clubhouse clone.

Today, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, Discord, Telegram, and even LinkedIn have plans for live audio in various stages of development or availability. Instead of starting from scratch, however, Spotify made an acquisition. Thanks to Locker Room, initially a place to discuss sports, Spotify said it would soon open up live audio to more professional athletes, writers, musicians, songwriters, podcasters, and “other global voices” who want to host real-time conversations. Since the deal was announced, investors asked whether Spotify believed linear consumption of spoken-word audio was more interesting than music streaming in its first earnings call.

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