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A Summary of

The Next Phase of Social? Listen Closely

by
Andrew Chen
a16z
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Audio will create the next generation of startups in social networking and publishing, much like the innovations we have seen in messaging, video, and other media to date.

Beyond Podcasts

  • There’s more opportunity for audio-first products that go beyond passive listening
  • Platforms can provide user-generated content, live conversations, and other social interactions

The precedent for social + audio

  • The social application of video started with a small group of innovators and then exploded to include platforms like YouTube and TikTok, the audio format will follow suit
  • Though audio apps may have begun with podcasting and audio books, we’re on the front-end of a decade of innovation in social audio

How social audio might innovate

  • There are many existing audio use cases that can be categorized by product attributes

Themes shaping the future of social audio

  • Innovation in the content format
  • The evolution of the business model
  • The growing ubiquity of audio

Convergence of technology and human behavior

  • The demand for audio is at an all-time high, motivating entrepreneurs to be more adventurous in user-generated methods of creating audio content
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