Spotify Pulls Plug on Live Audio Shows in Programming Cutback

(Bloomberg) — Spotify Technology SA, the music streaming giant, is ending production of several live audio shows, pulling back from a once-promising programming area.

Deux Me After Dark, Doughboys: Snack Pack, The Movie Buff from comedian Jon Gabrus, and A Gay in the Life have all ended their runs or announced they will do so, according to a Spotify spokesperson. The Fantasy Footballers and The Ringer MMA Show will continue.

Streaming companies and social-media outlets once viewed live audio streaming as a potential growth area. In 2020, during the pandemic, live audio apps were especially popular. Most notably, Clubhouse soared to a $4 billion valuation, while established companies rushed to copy the app. Facebook launched Live Audio Rooms, LinkedIn introduced Audio Events and Twitter debuted Spaces.

But some are now retreating. Besides Spotify, Facebook has shut down its live product.

In some cases, Spotify canceled programs before the creators’ contracts were completed, even though the company is paying out the entirety of their agreements, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. These programs, which were essentially live podcasts, often aired weekly and allowed hosts to moderate conversations while interacting with audience members. On-demand versions are available on Spotify for replay, as well.

As part of its push into live shows, Spotify in March 2021 acquired Betty Labs, the maker of Locker Room, a sports-centric audio app, and relaunched it as Greenroom. Earlier this year, Spotify rebranded the format and app as Spotify Live and integrated the shows into its main streaming app. A company announcement highlighted programming like Deux Moi’s show and Call Her Daddy hosted Alex Cooper’s After Hours. Though Spotify advertised Cooper’s show as weekly, only two episodes aired.

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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