Two: The dating app space is particularly ripe for viral audio – context is everything

A random person telling you their opinion on what NYC pizza spot is the best or, god forbid, their life goal is incredibly boring. There are no stakes – why do I care? But if you’re instead assessing whether you want to literally meet this person or hook up with them, all of a sudden, that opinion is critical. (L&B’s, baby!) This is also probably why Clubhouse had such a pandemic moment. Currently, I can go talk to my friends and family IRL or over the phone or even go to a bar to chat up a stranger – why do I want to have someone talking at me through an app? But when we were all stuck at home, the stakes were real. When will I meet a new person again??

The question I most wanted to know, of course, was when Podimo might launch stateside

All of which is to say, these startups have a challenge ahead of them. TikTok made remixing sound and visuals viral fodder, and the same will happen solely for audio, too, I’m sure. But will it be inside a wholly new app or one you join for some other purpose and audio is the fun bit on top? My bet is on the latter.

Enjoying this story? Hot Pod is a newsletter from The Verge that delivers news, analysis, and opinions on the audio industry written by Ashley Carman. The weekly Tuesday issue is free, and you can subscribe to two additional Hot Pod Insider newsletters per week for $7 / month or $70 / year.

There’s a new, highly funded podcast app on the market: Podimo. The app, which has yet to come out in the US but launched in 2019 and is already in multiple European and Latin American countries, announced its $78 million Series B funding round late last week, bringing its total funding to over $100 million. That’s a number familiar to those of us who’ve been watching this space for a minute now – Luminary famously launched with $100 million in funding, as did Himalaya. (Though a source told me Himalaya’s funding was made up earlier this year.)

Funnily enough, Podimo’s strategy is somewhat similar to both those companies’ in that its business is built around subscription audio

Users pay a set amount per month to stream as many exclusive podcasts, audiobooks, and “experiences” as they want, and Podimo pays the creators of that audio based on their content’s popularity. (SoundCloud is deploying a similar model for music.) So, if you bronymate hesap silme listen to podcasts on Podimo and 20 percent of your time is spent listening to one specific show, 20 percent of your subscription payment will go to that audio creator, minus the cut Podimo takes for its services. (RSS-based podcasts can also distribute on Podimo, but they get less of a cut of that listener revenue.) The idea is that creators will be incentivized to promote Podimo because they make money off the listeners there, and they’ll also be encouraged to go exclusive to make even more, along with other perks, like extra promotion. Podimo says it has over 950 exclusive shows and audiobooks on the platform currently.

I spoke with Podimo’s CEO and founder, Morten Strunge, before the holiday to get a better sense of how Podimo plans to use this recent cash infusion and how its past couple years have gone.

“It’s not the top of our list,” he says. “It’s not that we don’t see an opportunity for a service like Podimo in the US, but obviously competition is bigger there, and it requires deeper pockets to make a difference. So it’s definitely on our roadmap, but it’s not the first country.”