Spotify is one of the biggest music streaming platforms in the world, so it only seems natural that it would try to enter the live audio space. That’s why Greenroom, a new social audio network from Spotify, was born. Here’s what it is—and how it’s different from the growing list of social audio apps.
Spotify Enters the Social Audio Space
The drop-in audio social network Clubhouse launched in 2020 to great success. The app hosts thousands of audio rooms where users can listen in to a talk or join a discussion. However, as of June 2021, access to the app is only available via an invite from an existing user or by trying your luck on a waitlist.
Since its launch, established tech giants have started launching their own social audio services, such as Discord Stage Channels and Twitter Spaces. Music-streaming company Spotify is the latest to launch a social audio network with Greenroom. The app is based on Locker Room by Betty Labs, a tech startup acquired by Spotify in March of 2021.
Greenroom is meant to complement Spotify’s existing music and podcast streaming platform. However, to use it, you must download the separate Greenroom app on your device.
What Is Greenroom?
If you’ve used Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces, a lot of the functionality in Greenroom will look familiar. You can drop into rooms covering different topics, listen in on a conversation, or start your own room. The format is similar to that of live events, where you’re listening to people speak on a virtual stage and you might get a chance to ask questions.
Each room has three types of members: hosts, speakers, and listeners. Hosts can speak, manage the room, and invite others to come on stage. Speakers are those who are on the stage at any given time. Listeners are those who are just listening to the conversation, and they can raise their hands to speak.
One big difference between Greenroom and its competitors is its monetization model for top creators. Unlike Clubhouse, where most creators earn money from donations or sponsorships, creators in Greenroom can gain access to a creator fund. It provides hosts weekly payouts for gaining large audiences and hosting popular content. You can learn more about the Greenroom creator fund on Spotify’s website.
Finding the Right Rooms
At the moment, there are two main ways of finding discussion rooms. One is by looking through the app’s home feed, which displays current popular, active rooms. It’s a good way to quickly jump into a room with an interesting-looking topic or community.
The other is by finding and joining groups using the search functionality. Each group is based on a particular interest, such as “Music” or “Football.” These groups will have multiple rooms under them, which have specific topics related to that interest. For example, a music group might have some rooms of people playing live music, interviews with musicians, and talks for music producers.
Anyone can make or join a public group and create rooms within that group. Making a room inside a group will ping its members to join in on the discussion. You can also follow specific creators and be notified whenever they start a new room.
One of Greenroom’s main selling points is Spotify’s connection to existing artists, musicians, and podcasters. On Clubhouse, you’ll find various up-and-coming musicians and content creators discussing their work or hosting live versions of their shows. These larger events can usually be found in the “Upcoming Rooms” section of the app. You can also add scheduled shows to your phone calendar to receive a notification when they’re about to start.
What Are Gems?
A unique part of Greenroom is its gem system. Gems are similar to “likes” or “karma” and are obtained when other people like what you have to say. You can award gems to speakers in a room that you’re in.
Gems are a way of signaling your popularity and engagement as a creator to others. The total number of gems that you have is displayed on your profile. Giving other users gems doesn’t affect your total gem count.
The Greenroom app is currently in beta and is available for iPhone and Android devices. You can download it on Apple’s App Store or on the Google Play Store. Once you have the app, you can log in with your existing Spotify account or create a new Greenroom account. You don’t need to have a Spotify Premium account to join, and unlike Clubhouse, it doesn’t require an invitation.
Because the app is still in beta, you might encounter bugs and performance hiccups while using it. When we tested it at release, we noticed that finding specific rooms was difficult and that the app slowed down in larger rooms. However, as Spotify updates and improves the app, it will likely become a smoother experience.