Last month, Spotify made news by snapping up Locker Room — a popular platform for fan chatter around games and sports news. The announcement came as a surprise to many, because although Sweden-based Spotify is already the leading audio app globally, they’ve thus far been devoted to on-demand music, podcasts, and audiobooks.
Social audio is having a moment
When considered in the broader social media context, though, the purchase makes sense. It is just another sign of the explosion in demand for live audio apps that has erupted amid the pandemic. Voice-based social networks, like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, Water Cooler, and Locker Room, have all been praised for their ability to allow users to converse spontaneously. As an alternative to other audio content, they offer a one-stop-shop for a curated amalgamation of podcasts, live streams, conferences, and radio.
We recently analyzed Twitter’s audio strategy and product roadmap vis-à-vis Clubhouse, pointing out the fact that those who enter into the mix later have the opportunity to build on and learn from what others have started.
The battle begins
As more contenders emerge, it looks like the next few months will decide who fizzles after the initial hype and who goes on to become a mainstay in the audio landscape. Of course, there is room for smaller, more niche platforms, but as Spotify’s purchase of Locker Room indicates, mergers and acquisitions will always be top of mind for investors.
Spotify’s game plan
In a flurry of press conferences and interviews, Spotify has expressed that they will seek to merge what makes Clubhouse popular — spontaneous conversations about current topics — with what many of those apps lack: a place to archive conversations for later consumption. Spotify will let users post live audio streams as on-demand podcasts for access through its own app.
“Interactivity and live is something our creators have been asking us for,” said Gustav Soderstrom, Spotify’s head of research and development. “A conversation between a few people, that has turned out to be a much more interesting live format.”
A word of advice to advertisers
Further, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek echoed many in the industry when he made the case everyone will soon be going in on social audio. He was adamant that every major platform will adopt live audio experiences and that they will ultimately follow the same trajectory of Stories (a feature initially popularized by Snapchat but now thriving across platforms), which have now become ubiquitous.
As live audio becomes a more prominent component of the social media landscape, now is the time for marketers to start paying attention to how these various platforms foster creator-fan affinity. As live audio continues coming into its own, advertisers need to begin delineating the difference between the various platforms and figuring out how they can incorporate audio content into a broader advertising strategy.
The conversation is only likely to intensify in the weeks to come, so stay tuned for more updates as the battle for social audio dominance continues. In the meantime, if you’d like to stay up to date on current social media trends and growth marketing hacks, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for the latest digital marketing news.