Spotify Greenroom takes on Clubhouse with live streamer payments

Spotify has launched its own Clubhouse competitor, with Spotify Greenroom promising live audio and impromptu hosting, with a few useful extras for artists and creatives. Clubhouse proved to be a breakout hit of the pandemic, offering audio chatrooms with straightforward hosting tools, and it went on to prompt a spate of rivals.

In Spotify's case, Greenroom builds on the streaming music company's acquisition of Betty Labs back in March. That had developed Locker Room, a live audio system, and it forms the bases of Greenroom now.

It's launching on both iOS and Android, in 135+ markets worldwide. "We're building Greenroom with the creators and artists in mind who make Spotify great, optimizing for interactivity and deep connections between participants in live rooms," Spotify said today. At the same time, the company is launching the Spotify Creator Fund, to help monetize live audio.

Any user will be able to host or participate in live rooms, using their existing Spotify account. There'll be groups and an integrated search feature for finding upcoming rooms that are scheduled, plus an easy way to create a new room. Spotify has built in chat controls, too, though as always we'll likely have to wait to see how creators actually use the service – and unearth its foibles – to find out exactly how well the whole thing holds up.

What may prove alluring is the recording capabilities. That will allow for on-demand content to be mixed with live conversations, Spotify says. The company also plans to add new programming, across categories including music, culture, and entertainment, building on the existing sports content.

As for the new Spotify Creator Fund, that will effectively bring the royalty model used for musicians to live content shared by Greenroom. Payments will mainly be based on how much live content is consumed, and how many people are listening to your rooms; distributions will be calculated weekly, Spotify explains, reflecting changes in audience size.

Registration is open now, but the fund won't go live until this summer; payments will begin then, too. Initially it'll only be available to streamers in the US, and only live content consumption will be counted in performance calculations. Podcast or music listens won't, and neither will how many "gems" you collect or your participation in rooms you didn't create yourself. Spotify plans to use PayPal to process the payments.

Of course, the big question is whether Spotify Greenroom can escape Clubhouse's apparent fate. Though the service was a sudden hit during the pandemic, in more recent months users have slumped – even though the company's long-absent Android app was finally released.