A new collective tries to solve the problem of monetizing live audio. A group of mostly tech-focused hosts are launching a shared podcast feed that will round out the many social audio chats they’ve started, with plans to run ads across the collected feed.
The group, which is led by Techmeme driving home host Brian McCullough, will initially cover nine total contributors, including: Alex Kantrowitz of the Great technology newsletter and product designer Chris Messina. They share a podcast feed where they can post audio they’ve recorded live on various social audio platforms, such as Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, and that feed, which is already live but not yet publicly announced, is called SpaceCasts. Anyone who participates can publish their live audio to the feed and benefit from the ad sales that are made. (The team says anyone can sign up to participate and says people can get in touch through their website. They also say that they will ask all participants in the live room to say that they are okay with being recorded.)
The big idea is that this solves two problems: one is that it’s hard to justify spending resources putting together social audio spaces if there’s no great, native way to monetize a show that will disappear once it ends. . The next is that launching an individual podcast is also difficult and requires marketing to grow. Sharing a podcast feed with others means that everyone shares the goal of growing the feed and bringing listeners to it. Advertising money, which the group has not yet earned, is divided between downloads. So if a member contributes only one show in a given month, but accounts for 20 percent of the downloads, they will receive 20 percent of the revenue.
“What we’re saying is, ‘Look, take the stuff that’s really good, that you’ve recorded that you think you know might be of interest to this wider audience, and we’ll gather an audience that’s interested in some sort of a potpourri or a buffet with different topics from people who are experts, but also have their own take on this sort of thing’”, Messina says.
All of this speaks of social audio’s focus on making it easier to get people in one place to record – and the lack of focus on monetization or native recording. Twitter says it’s working on a native withdrawal feature, but it hasn’t launched yet, and Clubhouse has launched in-app tipping, which is useful but doesn’t fund real chats. Some creators have started partnering with brands in their Clubhouse spaces, and entire agencies have evolved to sell ads for them. But a podcast feed still remains the best way to widely distribute recorded audio that can live on forever.