In March 2021, Spotify announced it was acquiring the company behind the sports-centric audio app Locker Room to help launch its entry into the live audio market. In June 2021, the company made good on that deal with the launch of Spotify’s Greenroom, a new mobile app that allows Spotify users worldwide to join or host live audio rooms, and optionally turn those conversations into podcasts. It’s also announcing a Creator Fund that will help fuel the new app with more content in the future.
The Spotify Greenroom app itself is based on Locker Room’s existing code. In fact, Spotify tells us, current Locker Room users will see their app update to become the rebranded and redesigned Greenroom experience, starting today.
How do I join Spotify’s Greenroom?
Joining is easy! To join the new app, Spotify users will sign in with their current Spotify account information. They’ll then be walked through an onboarding experience designed to connect them with their interests, similar to selecting your music preferences on Spotify.
Currently, the process of finding audio programs to listen to relies primarily on users joining groups inside the app. In time, Spotify tells us the plan is for Greenroom to leverage Spotify’s personalization technology to better connect users to content they would want to hear.
For example, it could send out notifications to users if a podcaster you already followed on Spotify went live on Spotify Greenroom. Or it could leverage its understanding of what sort of podcasts and music you listen to in order to make targeted recommendations. These are longer-term plans, however.
What is offered in Greenroom?
As for Spotify’s Greenroom’s feature set, it’s very similar to other live audio offerings — including those from Clubhouse, Twitter (Spaces) and Facebook (Live Audio Rooms). There are mute options, moderation controls and the ability to bring listeners onstage during the live audio session. Rooms can host up to 1,000 people, and Spotify expects to scale up that number later on.
Listeners can also virtually applaud speakers by giving them “gems” in the app. The number of gems a speaker earned displays next to their profile image during a session. For now, there’s no monetary value associated with the gems, but that seems an obvious next step. Until then, gems are empty accolades used to help guide users to popular speakers.
How is this app different from other audio-based apps?
It’s worth noting there are a few key differentiators between Spotify’s Greenroom and similar live audio apps. First, it offers a live text chat feature that the host can turn on or off whenever they choose. Hosts can also request the audio file of their live audio session after it wraps, which they can then edit to turn into a podcast episode. This is a massive difference from Clubhouse, which focuses on “in the moment” sessions.
Perhaps most importantly is that the live audio sessions are being recorded by Spotify itself. The company says this is for moderation purposes, which is a challenge for live audio platforms. If a user reports something in a Greenroom audio room, Spotify can go back to look into the matter, to determine what sort of actions may need to be taken.
Moderation is an area Clubhouse has struggled with, as its users have sometimes encountered toxicity and abuse in the app in real time, including in troubling areas like racism and misogyny. (Clubhouse says it now records a temporary encrypted buffer of the audio in a room while the room is live for the purpose of supporting incident investigations — a system that has been in place for months.)
What’s next for Greenroom?
Today, Greenroom is focused on user-generated live audio content, but Spotify has larger plans for the app in the very near future. Later this summer, the company plans to make announcements around programmed content alongside the launch of other new features related to music, culture, entertainment and sports.
The company also says it will be marketing Spotify Greenroom to artists through its Spotify for Artists channels, in hopes of seeding the app with more music-focused content. And it confirmed that monetization options for creators will come further down the road, too, but isn’t talking about what those may look like in specific detail for the moment.
Currently, you can download Spotify’s Greenroom on both iOS and Android in English only, but there are plans to expand the languages soon.
As with any new social media tool, it’s difficult to know what the future will hold for Greenroom. But as the app grows, both in user base and profile, it’s sure to figure into conversations at Rooted Web and beyond.
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