Will Bachman 00:02
welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. Unleashed is produced by Umbrex, which connects you with the world’s top independent management consultants. I’m here today with Dan Doherty, who is the CEO of sounder and he’s going to tell me about their platform. Dan, welcome to the show. Well, thank you for having me. So, Dan, before we get into what sounder does, please explain to me the different kind of technology involved in you know, someone actually being able to listen to a podcast. So you know, you know, the uploaded to a podcast like hosting site, and then there’s podcast apps, maybe there’s something in between. So for someone who hasn’t started a podcast before, explain to me You just kind of how that works.
Dan Daughterty 00:54
If you look at it in two different types of, you know, one from a listener perspective, and then one from a creator perspective, most of us our listeners, throughout the entire world, you might use Apple podcasts, or Google podcasts, or Spotify to actually listen to podcasts on your app. And the way that these podcasts, apps actually get information is through something called RSS feeds. And every creator that uploads a podcast on a hosting platform, like Lipson, or like sounder, or like a host of other hosts, thing, platforms, that generates an RSS feed, which allows these apps to then display podcast episodes, so listeners can actually listen to them.
Will Bachman 01:44
Okay, so there’s a podcast hosting site. And they own the server where the file actually sits. Or maybe they’re renting it for an Amazon Web Services or something. But they’re the ones that sort of are owning or renting the actual server where your file is for that podcast. And then when someone goes on Stitcher or overcast or Spotify or iTunes, podcast app, or whatever, you think it’s there, but it’s actually just pulling that file downloading it. From from that from that podcast host. That is correct. Alright, cool. So what are the it’s a tough now tell me what sounder is doing? And you know, why someone who’s starting a new podcast today might want to think about signing up with sound? Or what are you doing differently than what other podcast
Dan Daughterty 02:37
hosts do? Um, well, if you if you look at it from the lens of just a podcast creator, there’s a lot of different issues that you might experience. One is fragmentation. You have to use a lot of different tools, like creation software, like voiceover software, if you want to use something else to monetize, you have to go to different vertical platforms to do that. The second problem for creators is how do you get more listeners to listen to your podcast? whether whether or not you have 10 listeners per month, or 10 million listeners per month? How do you get discovered sounder.fm comes into the picture where we are an end to end podcast management platform with a very strong focus on Discovery. And again, that’s for listeners to discover your podcast, whether you’re talking about business, or entertainment, or sports, or whatever that might be. We’re seeing a lot more podcasts into the space, in fact, over 500,000 new podcasts this year alone of 1.7 million podcasts, which means just like in the early days of the internet, where you had more and more web pages being indexed, discovery became a lot more difficult for search engines to develop algorithms for, for readers, or for searchers to find what they’re looking for. And of course, Google democratize access to information. So if you look at what sounder.fm is doing, we’ve built technology that offers free hosting for podcast creators. We developed our own in house transcription services that we offer every single podcast creator free transcription. So essentially what we do is we index the entire audio file, we transcribe it. And then we know precisely where terms or topics or themes are mentioned within the episode. And we do that we give all these tools to the creators. So for example, we give every creator their own web page. That web page has all of their episodes that are indexed or added to our platform. Every episode has their own web page. This helps with audio SEO, because we offer free transcription that also helps with audio SEO as Google can index in crawl now the spoken word in text format. And then what really makes us different is the ability to offer every creator have their listeners actually search within their audio. So well, for example, if you have hundreds of episodes, and someone wants to find information, every time you mentioned Google, or every time you mentioned, AWS or consulting or whatever it might be, we will then send the listener to that precise location to help with engagement. So that that is one of the things that are part of our discovery suite is the ability for in stream audio search.
Will Bachman 05:58
Okay, now, that would happen when so if a host uses sounder as their hosting site, but then a listener is listening to it via let’s say, Spotify, that that listener is not going to get those searching benefits, right? It’s that is that is correct. It’s so that that listener would have to go to the the web page, like the sounder web page for that episode, to get the searching, you know, capability.
Dan Daughterty 06:32
Yeah, one of the tools that we offer all of our creators is the ability to put our advanced player on their website. So it could be a WordPress website, it could be a GoDaddy website, whatever it might be. A lot of our creators have their own podcasting section, every single episode has our player, our player has all of our features really rolled into the player. So in stream audio search, we offer closed captioning via the transcription, we offer what we call soundbite audio share. So as a listener, if there’s a snippet that you really want to share to Twitter or Facebook, you can actually share that snippet. And when a listener clicks on your Twitter post, it will go directly back to your sites, to that precise location within the audio. So we see a lot of marketing moments happening within a 30 or 60 minutes, piece of audio, our tools help creators do that. So that’s one way that the listeners would have access to that. Another way is we have API’s for large publishers, as well as we’re working with some other platforms that when you’re listening on their platform, they’ll be able to leverage our technology. So indirectly, they’ll be using our technology for in stream audio search to get the benefit for the creators as well.
Will Bachman 07:58
And are you planning on coming out with your own kind of listening app? So people instead of having to go to a website could just, you know, use use the app to listen to a podcast?
Dan Daughterty 08:11
You know, SoundCloud, FM, actually, our first release, actually, last year, was solving a major problem that I personally had. I’m in the real estate investing industry. And there’s a term called 1031 exchange. And I was on Apple podcasts, and I typed in 1031 exchange, they gave me what they thought were the most relevant pieces of content. But I had to listen about 40 minutes of audio before they talked about 1031 exchanges. Yeah, so that was the that was the first problem. We actually launched last year as a podcast search engine, where we indexed all of the world’s audio content or podcast content. If you were looking for a specific topic, term, search keyword, whatever it might have been, we sent you to that precise location within that corresponding episode, we then decided to take that technology and really focused on the Creator. Because we saw a very big need and void in the market, that we’re seeing a lot more content into the space discovery is becoming a major issue. So as as of right now, we have no plans to have a more consumer facing application.
Will Bachman 09:23
Okay. All right. So this tool is something that you can put on your website, for those who want to create a podcast for the listeners who are going to be unless the listener is going to go to a website, which which my guess is like what, what percentage of people actually listened to a podcast on a, you know, browser page versus I would imagine it’s pretty small right compared to versus listening on an app.
We’re seeing about 75% of all listens come from a mobile device, whether that web based on mobile or or via an app, the restaurant desktop with the with COVID. And stay at home, we actually saw that go a little higher on desktop. Considering you know, prior to prior to COVID, it was higher on mobile, it still is high. But a lot of people are listening on their desktop to just like we’re doing today, that is probably going to change here, as schools are opening up and so forth, it will go back to about 75% of all streams coming from mobile devices.
Will Bachman 10:30
Okay, got it. So this tool allows you to have on your website, this really very impressive search functionality, which is even on my own podcast to be able to find something that I talked about or whatever would be helpful, and, and does nice to draw people to your website for that additional functionality. And I suppose it also lets you search like in anybody’s, you know, pot, you know, in any podcast to search for those terms, right? We have
Dan Daughterty 11:01
that capability, but we only limit to your content in the future. If you want to open that up. Yeah, we can do that. We don’t do that today. It’s just your content that you produced. All right. And what’s the what’s the sounder business model?
Will Bachman 11:16
Are you charging creators? Or is it like advertising based talk to me about that a little bit.
Dan Daughterty 11:22
It’s a freemium model, where free hosting free transcription, for those that have more than 20,000 streams a month, they go to our medium package, which is 30 bucks a month, that allows for a lot more functionality, more seats, meaning if you want to invite others within your organization, more streams per month access to additional data, and so forth. And then we have an enterprise level, really account that alive, that’s dedicated stack for really, really big publishers. Yeah. And then the other way that we will be monetizing starting in this quarter is through audio advertising. And we actually want to democratize audio advertising, just like the early days of the internet, where you had the top 1% of publishers can really only monetize with the top 1% of advertisers, very similar here in the podcasting industry. And we want to give everyone the ability, regardless of size, to actually monetize their podcast.
Will Bachman 12:23
Yeah, I will give a shout out to my son. So I haven’t taken any advertisement. That’s not really my goal. But my son has a podcast, the Half Blood report, and he gets a fair number of listeners, it’s all about the world of Percy Jackson. He recently has done some ads on his show. He gets, you know, like multiple hundreds of listens, per episode. And I think he made like, I guess, like $2 per episode or something. So that’s right. Not big, big dollars yet, but it, you know, for people, you know, for people with smaller podcasts, it’s, it is kind of a bit of a bureaucratic hassle to try to accept advertising if that’s if that’s what you’re doing it for. So that’s exactly right. Yeah. Cool. So that’s so it sounds. So, by the way, for listeners who are looking for a benchmark, that is a very good deal, you know, to be able to host it for free. No other sites charge of depends on how many episodes you add each month, or how much how much Meghan, you know, how many how much bandwidth you want to add each month, but like Lipson charges, either 510 15 or $20 a month or more. You know, to be able to upload episodes. So it’s you know, it’s pretty, it makes it more affordable. If you’re, you know, starting, you know, when you’re starting out, they have a free hosting site. Well, that’s fantastic. So for people, then where would you point them if they want to learn more,
Dan Daughterty 13:58
just go to sounder.fm, we really break everything out with as relates to our discovery suite. Even if your first time creator, you don’t even have a single episode, you can leverage us if you already have content and episodes and you’re on another hosting provider. What’s nice about podcasting and going back to the RSS feed that I mentioned in the beginning of the episode, is you can actually move hosting providers really easily even if you have hundreds of episodes because of the RSS feed. So if you’re on hosting x, you want to come over to us you just import all of your stuff within a couple of minutes. All of the audio metadata photos, they all come over. And then if you want to move away from us and you’re not happy, you just take the RSS feed and import it at a different hosting provider. So it goes back and forth.
Will Bachman 14:51
Oh, so there’s a way to if you are with another hosting site, you have a way to import all of your all that material. That’s right Well, that that’d be a big barrier. Otherwise, that’s good to know. Awesome. Well, it sounds like a pretty good tool for, you know, particularly for people that are starting out, or people who are really excited by this search functionality. So check it out. It’s what sounder.fm Sam and that’s right. All right. Well, Dan, thanks so much for coming on the show and telling us a bit about about this tool that you’re building. Thanks, Bill. Appreciate it. All right.