December 4, 2022

Selena Gomez is reportedly in development a working girl Restartand I don’t know how to feel about that. As the daughter of a Staten Island girl who worked on Wall Street in the 1980s, the original is too close to my heart.

Anyway, let the river run — Audacy and Snap are trying to be more like TikTok, TikTok is trying to be more like Spotify, and Spotify is trying to make you pay extra for a play button.

Audacy’s new podcast discovery app pulls a page from TikTok’s playbook

Radio giant Audacy has acquired podcast discovery app Moonbeam, according to app founder Paul English. Discovery has been a huge challenge for the industry, and Moonbeam is tackling it by working less like a traditional podcast player and more like a social platform.

“We developed a feature called ‘Beam’ that immediately started playing an episode. If you didn’t like it, swipe up and then we played another show,” wrote English in a blog post. “This approach was very much inspired by TikTok, the best video discovery app.”

Audacy has previously acquired top production outfits such as Pineapple Street Studios and Cadence13 and has its own podcast and radio streaming app. Audacy has not said whether Moonbeam will continue to operate as a standalone app or whether the functionality will be folded into the Audacy app.

English declined to disclose terms of the acquisition until The Boston Globeand Audacy didn’t return immediately Hot Pod‘s request for confirmation of the deal. Perhaps Audacy will provide the details during his profit presentation on Friday.

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Spotify’s latest premium feature is a play button

Premium subscribers now have access to separate play and shuffle buttons in the app. Spotify’s shuffle standard is the bane of artists and extremely serious playlist creators everywhere, so the development is probably welcome. The company introduced a special play button for albums with some persuasiveness last year from Adele, who said, “We don’t make albums with such care and have thought about our track listing for no reason.”

I’m all for the shuffle, but my roadside colleague Chris Welch has a point that an app-wide play button only for premium subscribers is an odd choice. “It seems a bit ridiculous that Spotify now uses buttons and the user interface as a distinction between the free and paid offerings of the service, but here we are,” he wrote.

Acast’s investment wave is coming to an end

Swedish podcast distribution and advertising company Acast has been making some big strides in the US market lately, announcing its $34 million acquisition of podcast database Podchaser last month and a three-year ad sales deal with WTF with Marc Maron in May. With the economy weighing on ad revenue, Acast will cool its spree, executives said during Tuesday’s semi-annual investor presentation.

Emily Villatte, CFO of Acast, went on to say: a conversation with investors that the company will “slow down that pace of investment”. But it appears that Acast’s expansion strategy is already paying off, with North America growing 72 percent in the second quarter, about 2.5 times the growth rate in Europe. It also adds podcasts to a clip, adding up to 66,000 shows, up from about 40,000 by the end of 2021.

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But even with the addition of new shows and tools, the softened ad market forced the company to lower his guidance on annual revenue growth to 2025 from 60 percent to 40-45 percent. Shares of Acast are down nearly 5 percent on the news, and it could be a warning to the industry at large. When the Interactive Advertising Bureau predicted the market would be worth $4 billion by 2024, it was dependent on a healthy advertising market. If things stay that way, that figure could be unattainable.

Snap launches fund for indie artists

It was a tough few weeks for Snap, so the company is making a play for TikTok’s music artists. Last week, the company announced the Snapchat Sounds Creator Fund in partnership with DIY music distributor DistroKid.

Snap is offer tempting scholarships of up to $100,000 from top music makers spreading their tunes on the platform through DistroKid. In addition, selected artists are placed in more visible places on the platform, such as Snapchat Lens or in Spotlight. Eligible participants must be located in the US and be 16 years of age or older.

“We want to support the independent and emerging artists who are driving creation on Snapchat,” said Ted Suh, global head of music partnerships at Snap, in a statement. “By providing meaningful funding and creative support, our goal is for artists to feel empowered to continue creating and pursue a career in music.”

Snap introduced Sounds, which allows users to include music clips in their messages, in 2020. But the impact on the music industry has been quite minimal so far. TikTok loves music one of the most influential discovery toolsand it may not end there…

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TikTok Music could be the next big podcast app

TikTok parent ByteDance may be coming for lunch from Spotify. Spotted first by means of Insider, the Chinese company filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for “TikTok Music” in May. In addition to music and videos, the submission says: that the new app would also support podcasts and digital radio content.

Should a TikTok Music app come out, it wouldn’t be ByteDance’s first streamer. In 2020, it launched Resso, which is available in India, Brazil, and Indonesia (otherwise known as right where Spotify is looking to expand). In June, Resso podcasts added to the library thanks to a partnership with Acast.

Despite warnings from sen. Mark Warner and Joe Rogan about TikTok’s data practices, it seems essentially unstoppable. Perhaps Rogan will change his tune when it becomes a major podcast platform and his Spotify contract expires.

That’s all for today! Friday I leave for Scandinavia, the country of audio tech fjords and open-faced sandwiches, so you’ll be hearing from Jake on Tuesdays ahead. I’ll see you on the other side.