Spotify’s live audio app, Greenroom, formally launches today on iOS and Android, marking the company’s first real attempt at creating a social media platform. The social audio app, which is similar to Clubhouse, allows users to host live conversations about sports, music, and culture.
Today’s launch doesn’t come with a marquee creator announcement or specific event planned, but instead, the company is taking the opportunity to encourage people to sign up and figure out how they’ll want to use the app. Some of its core functionality, a person close to the situation says, will eventually make its way to the actual Spotify app, so the team will monitor what happens in Greenroom closely.
The app is built on Locker Room, which Betty Labs created and Spotify acquired in March. That app focused solely on sports content, so users who have been logged on since the start will have to get used to seeing more than just sports talk, which is likely the biggest change. Other noticeable changes to the app are mostly visual. It now has a Spotify green-and-black color scheme, as well as a new logo and font. Functionality-wise, it also now features native recording, which will allow users to save their shows and distribute them as podcasts. (Of course, Spotify owns Anchor, so one could easily imagine shows eventually being natively moved to the creation software for further editing and publishing.)
This is what it’ll look like to create a room.Image: Spotify
Users can sign up with their Spotify login, although it’s not required to use the app. The initial signup flow will also allow users to select their interests from a wider range of topics, like music genres and sports teams.
Additionally, Spotify is announcing a creator fund, although details are sparse. People on the app will be paid based on how popular their rooms are and their engagement in them, the source close to the situation says, and exclusive deals with creators are also in the works with announcements likely to come over the summer. It isn’t clear how much money Spotify will dedicate to lure creators to the app, but interested users can sign up more for information here.
Every tech company now seems to be interested in social audio, a thing that didn’t widely exist until March 2020, when Clubhouse launched. Since then, Twitter has launched Spaces, Facebook hosted its first Live Rooms, and other companies, like Slack, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Discord have started building similar products. Spotify might have the best chance of making social audio a real part of its business, simply because audio is already its full-time thing. But getting people to join an app live and spend time in it is a difficult sell, and one that’ll require top-tier programming, especially as it competes with all the other apps out there.