Popular audio streaming platform, Spotify, is acquiring Betty Labs, the creators of the live audio app for sports lovers, Locker Room. Image Source: Spotify.
On Tuesday, Spotify announced it is acquiring Betty Labs, the creators of the live audio app for sports lovers, Locker Room. This will place the audio streaming giant in direct competition with other live audio-based social networks including Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, and Discord.
Leading this acquisition is Chief Research & Development Officer, Gustav Söderström, who joined Spotify in 2009 as the Director of Portable Solutions. He currently oversees product, design, data and engineering teams at the company. In an interview with the Verge, Söderström sees that their new product will be ideal for creators to interact with their audience in real-time.
With over 345 million monthly active users across 178 countries, Spotify has transformed the way people listen to music. Although not the first music streaming platform to exist, it was the first company to tackle the issue of piracy by creating a subscription payment model for music. As of December 2020, the audio streaming giant had over 70 million tracks and 2.2 million podcast titles on its platform. It is reported that in 2020, the company earned €2.2B in revenue.
Daniel Ek, the Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Spotify, was inspired to build a music streaming platform at sixteen years old, after discovering some of his favourite artists through Napster, a short-lived illegal music downloading site created in June 1999 by Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker (who later became the first president of Facebook).
Ek, began working on Spotify in 2006 with Martin Lorentzon, who acquired Ek’s first start-up, Advertigo, in 2003. It took two years before Spotify could secure a handful of record labels, but the streaming service officially launched in several European countries on October 7, 2008. It is reported that the company saw a $4.4 million loss in 2008.
Spotify has had its fair share of controversies and legal confrontations from artists and record labels. Just a month ago, Spotify was entangled in a license dispute with Kakao M. The company did not renew its global distribution contract with Kakao M, as it was still negotiating domestic licensing agreements, resulting in hundreds of popular Kpop songs disappearing from the platform overnight. The feud was eventually resolved.
Spotify’s legal team is led by Horacio Gutierrez, The Head of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer. Gutierrez joined Spotify as General Counsel in 2016 after a 17-year career with Microsoft, where he was General Counsel. He graduated with a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School, which he attended as a Fulbright Scholar and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami.
Perhaps what makes Spotify unique compared to many other tech companies is its organizational structure. The company focuses heavily on enhancing collaboration through minimizing bureaucracy and top-down management by sorting its people into squads, tribes, alliances and guilds, commonly referred to as ‘The Spotify Model’. The concept was first introduced by Henrik Kniberg and Anders Ivarsson in 2012 and gained significant popularity among agile workplaces. It focuses on team agility through decentralized decision making, transparency and trusting team members to complete work in their individual squads, tribes, alliances and guilds.
Responsible for implementing the Spotify Model at the company and developing a people strategy that enables creativity is Chief Human Resources Officer Katarina Berg. Berg held human resources roles in Swedbank, 3 Scandinavia and Kanal 5 before joining Spotify. She graduated from Lund University with a Master of Arts in Human Resources Management and Development in Behavioural Science.
“Let’s be clear. Our way of working is unique, but it is definitely not perfect. We make mistakes and we realize that we don’t know the answers to all the questions. As we are growing so quickly, new challenges arise every day,” Berg said in an interview with corporate rebels. “The biggest challenges are to attract the right people and to harness our innovation, agility, and unique culture while welcoming one hundred new employees to the team every month.”
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