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Hearing Voices - Issue #71, or "Illuminating Luminary"


Hearing Voices

April 26 · Issue #71 · View online

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“ [The New York Times] will “look forward” to working with Luminary to distribute its other podcasts.” - The Verge
“Hearing Voices will "look forward” to you forwarding this email newsletter to your friends in the podcasting & voice tech space.“ - Matt Hartman

What's Up In Voice
> Try the Luminary app – The big news in voice this week was that Luminary launched. Luminary is probably the most visible attempt yet at what everyone has been describing as “Netflix for Podcasts.” It’s a monthly subscription and has paid podcasts, although you can also listen to some (but not all) free podcasts. It seems to be that they’re curating what they think to be the best free podcasts, so not including everything (and presumably only including podcasts that aren’t ad sponsored). However lots of the coverage focused on the fact that the NYTimes The Daily, Anchor, and others asked Luminary not to use their content. Those are ad-sponsored, so presumably Luminary also doesn’t want them on the platform anyway, but unclear. You can read a good analysis of the launch by Hot Pod here…Are any of you paying for Luminary? If so I’d love to hear from you.
> Try Swoot – the new audio app from the founders of HipChat. From what I can tell, it’s a bit like Breaker in that it’s a podcast listening app with a follower graph. Except on breaker you can listen at 2.5x and 3x speeds, Swoot’s max speed is 2x. Have you tried it? Let me know what you think.
> Try Dialup – now this is a fun, kind of wacky one. You sign up for different topics and different days are dedicated to different topics. You then get a phone call from Dialup that day which reads you something and then connects you with another member to discuss it. I picked #Poetry and on Wednesday night, I got this random call from the Dialup app (it comes through as a call, not a push notification, which I think is interesting). The call said it was going to read me a poem by William Carlos Williams twice through and then connect me with someone else to discuss it. The app worked as advertised and I had a nice discussion with a college student about WCW’s poetry. I’m not exactly sure the purpose but it was a pretty unique experience.
> Read Why content, not tech, is king – Not sure I agree with the whole thesis, but definitely gave me things to think about. The thesis is that Spotify buying Anchor and Gimlet means that they’re valuing content more than tech companies they’re buying. Similarly the fact that Luminary is buying content indicates that they also find content to be more valuable than tech. My counter argument here (which isn’t necessarily counter as much as it’s just a little contrarian process running in the back of my head) is that distribution, not content, is king. And distribution is increasingly happening at the tech layer not at the content layer. Said another way, Spotify is buying Gimlet Media, not the other way around. It seems that the value of distribution continues to accrue to tech companies, not media companies (e.g., people go to Facebook and then happen to see a buzzfeed article, versus going directly to buzzfeed for the content, which would be buzzfeed controlling its own distribution).
Thanks for reading & have a great weekend!
– Matt
Follow me on twitter @matthartman
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