Spotify shuts down live audio creator fund as Obamas exit exclusive content deal
Spotify has reportedly shut down its Greenroom creator fund, according to The Verge. The fund, which was launched in June last year, was designed to attract content creators to Spotify’s freshly launched live audio platform. Creators were offered weekly payouts and incentives based on performance and audience engagement. A competitor to live audio platform Clubhouse, Spotify launched their live audio platform (formerly called Greenroom) as a space for fans to connect with artists, offering it as a platform for live conversations between celebrities, influencers, content creators, and their fanbase. On April 12th, Spotify officially changed the platform’s name from Greenroom to Spotify Live.
According to The Verge, an email sent by Spotify to creators registered to the fund announced its discontinuation and a “plan to shift toward other initiatives for live creators.” As The Verge points out, there has been no clear indication on whether creators registered to the fund were ever paid out. A Spotify webpage with details of participation in the programme mentioned payouts would happen in late June of 2021, but this information was changed to suggest payouts would only happen in 2022.
Spotify and its payout model continue to be the source of controversy following their handling of the Joe Rogan situation. Most recently, Barack and Michelle Obama optioned to end their exclusive podcast deal with the platform. Entered under the couple’s media company, Higher Ground, the deal was reportedly worth nearly $25 million and would see Higher Ground produce podcasts exclusively for Spotify. However, it was reported in February that tensions were arising between Spotify and Higher Ground, with the former wanting the media company to produce more shows featuring the Obamas whereas the latter is focussed on promoting shows from marginalised voices.
According to The Guardian, Higher Ground is reportedly leaving the Spotify deal due to the limited audience reach that results from exclusivity. While Spotify will continue to stream their content nonetheless, the loss of an exclusive deal may prove a blow to the streaming giant, who has invested over $1 billion in securing exclusive rights to content from creators including the Obamas and Rogan.