Spotify pulls back from live audio features

Two-thirds of live shows on the platform appear to be inactive

Spotify is cutting back on live audio programming, with the news that the company will be discontinuing several of its original live shows. 

First reported by Bloomberg, the company has told TechCrunch that a range of shows including Doughboys: Snack Pack, Duex Me After Dark, A Gay In The Life and The Movie Buff will all be stopping releasing new episodes.

The ‘Live on Spotify’ genre, which the company uses to categorise its live shows, also no longer appears in the overall list of genres on the platform, and is only accessible via specifically searching for it. In fact, of the 33 shows listed under that label, more than two-thirds have been inactive for at least several weeks, or have explicitly ended. This includes live shows from high-profile Spotify Exclusive creators, such as Call Her Daddy’s Alex Cooper.

Spotify first began investing in live audio in early 2021, through its acquisition of developers Betty Labs, creator of the Locker Room app. This live audio platform was originally based primarily on sports content, but was launched to a more general audience as Spotify Greenroom post-acquisition. 

Greenroom’s live components were integrated into the core Spotify platform in April this year, but other live audio services have been struggling to find success. Amid the short-lived success of live audio apps like Clubhouse in the early days of COVID-19 lockdowns - where audiences could listen in on, and contribute to, live discussions - platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Spotify quickly moved to replicate the capability. 

However, Facebook has rolled its Clubhouse equivalent into the wider Facebook Live product, while Clubhouse itself has waned in popularity, with downloads dropping by more than 80% according to The Verge

What this means for Spotify’s creator ecosystem remains unclear, however. The platform currently allows independent creators to start their own live broadcast using its Spotify Live companion app, but these cutbacks may indicate a potential risk of Spotify sunsetting the app and its functionality at some point in the future. PodPod has reached out to Spotify for comment on the matter.