Spotify shows how the live sound boom has collapsed

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Lots of news to start the week. Let’s get it straight in: Spotify Live got the axe, the Obamas got another podcast deal, and iHeart signed up for the best health podcast.

Spotify Live is turned off, and what little live audio is left

The latest sign that live audio is well and truly on its way outAnd musically reports it Spotify is closing its Spotify Live app. On the app, which still has a few chat rooms running, users get a notification that the service will go away at the end of the month.

“After a period of experimentation and learning about how Spotify users interact with live audio, we have made the decision to close the Spotify Live app,” Spotify spokesperson Gael Gaviola Moro said in a statement. hot pod. She added that the company will continue to explore live streaming in scenarios where it makes sense, such as artist-focused “listening parties.”

Post-pandemic hasn’t been a good fit for live sound, which boomed with the advent of Clubhouse in the spring of 2020. Clubhouse peaked in mid-2021 when lockdowns and pandemic restrictions continued to impede normal socializing, resulting in a whopping $4 billion in valuation. Since then, Clubhouse’s monthly active users have dropped by 82 percent, according to data provided by Sensor Tower.

While Clubhouse is still limping, the companies that have followed in his footsteps have largely given up on their endeavours. Last year, Facebook folded its live audio rooms into an all-encompassing live chat feature. Reddit announced last month Turn off Reddit Talk. Spotify, which built its live product with the acquisition of Betty Labs in 2021 for more than $60 million, has put the product through several rebrands and brought Notable Podcast Hosts To make the app shine. But the app has only amassed 670,000 downloads, according to Sensor Tower (for comparison, Clubhouse has been downloaded 35 million times in 2021 alone). Spotify began deprioritizing its programming late last year, and given Spotify’s layoffs and belt-tightening, it seemed inevitable that the app would fall by the wayside.

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The rest of the live audio ecosystem, aside from Clubhouse, is Twitter and Amazon’s Amp. Twitter Spaces has emerged as the most successful live product, but it is on shaky ground. As a platform, Twitter made the most sense for topical conversations, and was well on its way to building Spaces into an all-encompassing audio product complete with playlists that mixed podcasts with chat rooms. Then Elon Musk took over, podcasts were fired and most of the Spaces team was laid off. It may not go away, but Spaces is clearly not the priority as the company tries to salvage its valuation.

Ampere , Although layoffs, it could be more interesting. Although it has chat software, it is described as a “live radio” app where would-be DJs can curate their own music stations and take advantage of the kinds of social features that have spawned from the live sound boom. To Spotify’s point about “listening parties,” social audio may have some legs when it comes to music specifically, rather than just listening to people talk. And if not, Amazon will be fine either way.

Whichever way you look at it, it’s hard to argue that live sound is still vital. When Spotify, a company focused exclusively on audio, doesn’t see a way forward, it may be time to call live audio for what it is: a (very expensive) fad.

Advertising and Distribution of Obamas’ High Ground Inks with Acast

After angering Spotify’s podcast-exclusive model, the Obamas are moving toward broader distribution for their podcast projects. The former first couple signed a multi-year deal with Amazon’s Audible after their agreement with Spotify expired last year. And now, thanks to Audible’s shorter exclusive window, Higher Ground has signed a separate deal with Acast, which will distribute its podcasts across other platforms.

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With the new arrangement, advertisers can now buy sites through Acast on Higher Ground offers such as Rebels: Born in the United StatesBoomer’s Dream Room Fever Featuring Conversations Between the Former President and Bruce Springsteen, total ushosted by author and policy expert Heather McGee, and an audio-documentary series Big Hit Show With Alex Papadimas.

Acast will also handle advertising and distribution for current and future Higher Ground projects originally produced for Audible. Last month, Higher Ground launched its first audio podcast, Michelle Obama: Lite Podcast, which has an exclusive two-week window for episodes on the platform. Once this window has passed, the episodes are distributed by Acast to platforms like Apple and Spotify.

The Obamas seem to have struck a happy middle ground between reach and the kind of big podcast money that only comes with an exclusive license. And for Acast, this is undoubtedly a win. The company already has it He signed a number of high-profile dealsincluded WTF with Marc Maron And Anna Faris is not eligibleand the Higher Ground deal will only add to the cache in the industry.

iHeart tags On purpose with Jay Shetty

See, deals keep happening! Megahit Wellness Podcast On purpose with Jay Shetty he have Signed with iHeartPodcast Network. Shetty, an author, life coach, and purveyor of Calm (can we cool him with nonsensical titles, honestly), launched Calm in 2019. It’s since been a Top 25 show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Unlike some other audio giants, iHeart doesn’t play the exclusivity game. When he appeared at the Hot Pod Summit in February, Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia’s digital audio group, made it clear that the company has a lot to gain by distributing its software as widely as possible rather than trying to cram people into the iHeart app (which, according to a study by Cumulus and Signal Hill Insights, it only accounts for 3 percent of all podcast listening).

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And while Shetty is already comfortably positioned among the best podcasts, he might find it appealing that iHeart also has a massive broadcast network that he can use to pitch his show and bring in more listeners. “We have about 70 shows on the iHeart Podcast Network that have over a million downloads per month or more,” Byrne said at HPS. “The only reason we have that number is for radio marketing.”

That’s it for today! See you next week.

Correction 5:05pm ET: A previous version of this article stated that Twitter no longer stores old Spaces recordings. The company has already stopped storing recordings of broadcasts.

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