A new collective is trying to solve the live audio monetization problem. A group of primarily tech-focused hosts are launching a shared podcast feed that’ll round up the many social audio chats they’ve started, with plans to run ads across the collected feed.
The group, which is being spearheaded by Techmeme Ride Home host Brian McCullough, will initially involve nine total contributors, including Alex Kantrowitz of the Big Technology newsletter and product designer Chris Messina. They’ll share a podcast feed where they can publish audio they’ve recorded live across various social audio platforms, like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, and that feed, which is already live but hasn’t been publicly announced, is called SpaceCasts. Anyone who participates can publish their live audio on the feed and profit from whatever ad sales are made. (The team says anyone can apply to participate and says people can get in touch through their website. They also say they’ll ask all live room participants to say they’re okay with being recorded.)
The big idea is that this solves two problems: one is that dedicating resources to putting together social audio rooms is hard to justify when there’s no major, native way to make money off a show that’ll disappear the moment 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 everyone shares the goal of growing the feed and bringing listeners to it. Ad money, which the group hasn’t made yet, will be divvied up by downloads. So if one member contributes only one show in a given month, but accounts for 20 percent of the downloads, they’ll receive 20 percent of the revenue.
“What we’re saying is, ‘Look, take the stuff that’s actually good that you’ve recorded and that you think you know could be of interest to this broader audience, and we’ll collect an audience that is interested in kind of a potpourri or like a buffet of different topics from people who are experts but also have their own perspective on this stuff,’” Messina says.
This all speaks to social audio’s focus on making it easier to get people in one place to record something — and its lack of focus on monetization or native recording. Twitter says it’s working on a native recording function, but that hasn’t launched yet, and Clubhouse has launched in-app tipping, which is helpful, but doesn’t monetize actual chats. Some creators have started partnering with brands on their Clubhouse rooms, and entire agencies have spun up to sell ads for them. But a podcast feed still remains the best way to widely distribute recorded audio that can live on forever.