Spotify closed down its Greenroom Creator Fund with shift in live audio strategy

Spotify recently announced that it would transition live audio content from its “Greenroom” app to its flagship streaming app while rebranding Greenroom as Spotify Live. However, the company didn’t note at the time that its dedicated fund to fuel content creation on Greenroom, the Spotify Greenroom Creator Fund, would also be shutting down.

In an email sent to creators who had applied to the fund, Spotify informs applicants the creator fund “will not be moving forward.” The email further explains that Spotify plans to “shift toward other initiatives for live creators” instead, and referenced the recent rebrand to Spotify Live. It also hinted that the company would introduce other new monetization options for live content creators in the future.

Spotify confirmed the fund’s shutdown to TechCrunch with the following statement:

The Creator Fund program is evolving along with our live audio strategy, and will shift toward other initiatives for live creators. We look forward to sharing more in the future.”

Spotify had originally announced the Spotify Greenroom Creator Fund last June, which it had said would help audio creators in the U.S. generate revenue for their work. The company, at the time, had declined to share any details on this front — like the size of the fund, how much creators would receive, the time frame for distributions, selection criteria, or other factors. Instead, it had only reached the point then of offering a sign-up form for those who may be interested in hearing more about this opportunity in the future.

The company’s goal, clearly, had been to develop Greenroom into more of a Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces rival in terms of live, original audio content, and it aimed to kickstart that investment with the fund. It was not an unusual move. Creator funds today are a popular way of encouraging creators to try out a new platform or key features — Clubhouse had similarly offered to pay creators through an accelerator program earlier in 2021, for example.

But Spotify’s Greenroom app did not demonstrate significant traction, having entered the market as the hype around live audio — a pandemic-era pastime — was beginning to wind down. The Greenroom iOS app had only gained 275,000 downloads globally, post-acquisition, Sensor Tower data had indicated. Including the time it was known as Locker Room before Spotify acquired the company, the app had seen a total of 295,000 iOS installs. The Android version had a larger install base, but it’s unclear how many were active users.

Spotify has more recently rethought its live audio efforts after Greenroom’s failure to thrive. While the Greenroom app, now called Spotify Live, remains open to independent creators, the company is no longer pursuing plans to fund independent creators’ work directly. Instead, it’s streaming live audio content in its main app by highlighting top creators through live events and shows. This effort began on April 12, 2022, with a live edition of “Off the Record with DJ Akademiks” which, like the other live shows, was promoted on the creator’s artist page in the app and in a live audio hub.

Spotify’s main app today only features live content from select original programming. While the fund’s closure signals a lack of interest in helping newer live creators get off the ground, it may not necessarily indicate Spotify is ending its pursuit of new live content — just how it’s sourced.