What’s the next big social network trend?Short form audio

“So I’ve identified some metrics and KPIs to start tracking to improve my overall life experience,” Farbod Nowzad says, seemingly serious, into his phone microphone.

He lists KPIs, key performance indicators (number of smoothies to drink per week, time spent listening to live techno music, number of rooftop bars to visit). Tap to hear more details. A person named Nikolai asks someone else to understand “the number of water appliances in your line of sight each day” and “the number of times you can say,” I do the usual thing “. I recommend that. More people chime with audio clips, all less than 90 seconds.

This is the future of audio for multiple founders and investors. A short form of recording that is sociable, shareable, thought-provoking, or at least tempting to hear and say something.

Multiple startups including beam, quest, And Nowzad apps Pourde We are betting on their efforts and investor cash that this user-generated audio has a business. Even the world’s largest social platform sees this as a possibility. Facebook announced Sound bite Earlier this year, we also have the following products built around short shareable audio clips: They all want to see what’s happening on TikTok (the many people who make viral video clips) and repeat their success with just the sound. If any of these apps really become popular, it could be the next viral frontier, a medium to create new stars and make big cash for everyone.

The best way to think of these efforts is to think of them as an app for voice memos. However, voice memos have a time limit, and people can respond to them with more voice memos that have a time limit. Oh, the voice memo hasn’t been edited either. It’s like taking the social side of a clubhouse, but limiting it with time constraints, the analogy that comes up when I talk to the founder is Twitter, blog..

“”[Once we had blogs] Then use a tool like Twitter or Tumblr to remove all the complexity and just say, “You don’t have to think of yourself as a blogger, just type a word in the box and press publish.” The lock has been released. “A lot of creativity,” said Austin Peter Smith, founder and CEO of. racketPeter Smith did not disclose the amount, although it is currently in beta and another short-form audio platform that raised the first seed round of funding.

By giving people online microphones and time constraints, he says, it makes it easier to approach podcasting.

“Hundreds of millions of people are actively creating TikToks, hundreds of millions are actively blogging, and less than a million are actively podcasting.” He says. “I don’t think it makes sense.”

Screenshot of racket interface.

The racket limits people to 9 minutes of recording, which can now only be done on the web. However, the app is under development and there are plans to open the platform to everyone. According to Petersmith, 18,000 minutes of audio have been released since the company was launched this year. 70,000 people are listening to the racket. This is what they call audio snippets. And 17,000 people signed up.

But why are you an audiophile now? Beams co-founder Alan Sternberg said he and his co-founder raised $ 3 million, and the app arrived at Clubhouse, which promotes phone microphone improvements, social audio ideas, and text from voice. Rapid transfer to.

In particular, none of these apps provide RSS feeds to deliver content to other apps, and are basically set up as a unique way for people to consume and create content. They are not podcasts. RSS is a problem because it doesn’t allow social networks to grow in one app, Sternberg said.

“I think the RSS issue is like a decentralized technology that isn’t created as a social network when you look at podcasting,” he said, suggesting why apps like Beams need to exist. doing.

For investors, on the other hand, short-form audio trends make sense in the minds of at least one investor as a way to build on and improve the success of live social audio apps. Racket investor Jake Chapman points out several issues found in live audio. That is, the conversation, as well as the nature of the conversation, deviates from the topic of the promised room. The conversation isn’t recorded live, so the app can’t optimize detection, at least for Clubhouse.

“I think short snippet audio companies are much more likely to succeed. [than apps like Clubhouse]”He says. “I think they can scratch the same kind of itch. For example, the racket is asynchronous because it is pre-recorded, and because it is short, the signal-to-noise ratio is completely inverted.”

He also says that apps that specialize in long-format audio are more costly when transcribing hours of conversation and optimizing discoveries around them, compared to short formats.

Screenshots of Quest, a short audio app focused on career advice.

Of course, podcasting has been around for years now, That It’s still a big tech moment.Amazon recently Purchased In addition to podcasting hosting companies Podcast Network Wonderly, And Spotify has spent more than $ 1 billion on exclusive content trading and acquisitions of companies across the space. No one thought podcasting was broken, but Big Tech found and seized the opportunity to take advantage of podcasting, primarily by delivering and targeting ads to the show. I put it in.

Especially Spotify bought Anchor for 2019, an app that definitely pioneered the idea of ​​mobile audio recording. However, we didn’t focus on short-form audio, but we still do, so it’s designed to democratize podcast creation. Anchor not only created the app, but also tried to make it a listening place, but couldn’t make it a destination.

That’s the real hurdle for these startups. Podcasts thrive when available on a variety of platforms. Some shows work well on YouTube, some show find viewers on Apple Podcasts, and some show work on PocketCast. However, these new apps and their founders see locked down content as a way forward.

However, these startups face two major hurdles. Facebook will soon enter this area, Pay $ 1 billion There is an open question as to whether creators and people across the platform next year will want to hear this audio format. Will someone actually listen to strangers and give them KPI ideas for optimizing their lives? Or do they just like tweets? What’s the next big social network trend?Short form audio

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