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Hearing Voices - Issue #76, or massive VCs are thinking about the Podcast space


Hearing Voices

June 7 · Issue #76 · View online

This week's news about voice computing apps, delivered directly to your inbox.

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“For the rest of us, these [generative music] apps offer a pleasing surrender to the algorithms—ones that shape the world to our desires and ask nothing in return.”
- Wired Magazine
“For readers, HearingVoices offers a pleasing surrender to links about voice – ones that shape the world to our desire and only asks you to share the newsletter in return.”
- Editor at Large of

What's Up In Voice
> check out the Third Annual Podcast Ad Revenue Study by IAB and PwC Reports Significant Growth. Interesting stats are that ad revenue has grown 15% CAGR since 2015 and YoY growth 2017 to 2018 was 53%. It’s mostly back-end ads vs programmatic (only 1.3%…can that be right?!). This is a really great, easily digestible report with lots of interesting data – cuts ad revenue lots of different ways, e.g., spot length, ad-model (e.g., CPM), etc. You should check it out.
> read about how generative music apps are the new thing, Wired covers them in its article Generative Music Apps Let Your Phone Write Songs For You
> try Bullet – this app lets you  create & share captioned video snippets of podcasts with any podcast app. Let me know what you think!
> developers, try Bixby developer portal 2.0 – “The next generation, AI platform.” Hopefully not an overpromise…Voicebots covered its launch this week Samsung Launches Bixby Premiere Developer Program
> read Investing in the Podcast Ecosystem in 2019 – The VC & startup industry are talking about A16Z’s new post . Welcome to 2014, A16Z (just kidding…kind of?) The big insights here are that 1) podcast industry is rapidly growing 2) podcast listeners are consuming 6+ hours of content/week & growing 3) Smartphones are the most popular consumption device.
So okay it’s more of a re-iteration of the landscape than something with great insights, but here’s why this is important: a16z has $2.7billion under management.
Their business model is to invest in companies that will be worth $10bn+. To underscore how they view the market to date, read this quote:
“In early 2019, Spotify acquired Gimlet Media, the studio behind top podcasts including Startup, Crime Town, and Reply All, for over $200 million; and Anchor FM, a podcast creation and distribution platform that aims to make podcasting extremely simple and enable anyone to start a podcast using only their smartphone, for about $100M. Beyond these two companies, there have been a number of smaller acquisitions in the space. 
The full list is here:
Gimlet & Anchor are the two largest exits in audio to date
Gimlet & Anchor are the two largest exits in audio to date
Note that the $55m, $60m, $30m, and other acquisitions between $4m and $100m they consider not to be significant (“smaller acquisitions in the space.”) This makes sense given their fund size and the rough math I just described.
So it’s significant that a fund of their size is looking to the podcast industry for $10bn+ types of exits because 1) the only company of that size in the audio space is Spotify, and 2) presumably they’ll be investing in companies in the space, which means those companies will the ability to spend that capital on content, user acquisition, etc. This could speed up the flywheel in podcasting in a similar way that large VC funds getting into areas like ride-sharing created massive user acquisition budgets (i.e., companies willing to spend a *lot* on marketing to try to get big, fast). This will be fascinating to watch.
What's Up In Data Privacy
Data Privacy - This is a new section. Similarly to Synthetic Media, I’ll include interesting articles when I see them, and won’t when I don’t.
> read It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to? (thanks @dad for sending me this one. seriously, it was from my dad)
> I’ll be speaking at the Rise of Voice Marketing at Betaworks Studios on June 18th. It’s $12, if you’re not a member of Betaworks Studios, but you loyal readers can use the discount code VOICES for 20% off. So the ticket will be less than $10!
Have a great weekend!
– Matt
You can follow me on twitter @matthartman
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