December 14, 2021, by Chris Kirk - The SocialAudioGuy
What is Social Audio?
Social Audio can be defined as voice-based communication on platforms or apps that utilize audio as one of their primary channels of communication either with ephemeral rooms that capture audio in real-time that allows listeners to actively participate or shared audio via recorded messages that are then shared to a larger audience. Social Audio originated in the form of podcasting in 2004 but largely became popularized in its current form in early 2020 with the introduction of Clubhouse and later Spotify Locker Room and Twitter Spaces. Social audio can be considered a subcategory of Social Media with a heavy emphasis on the use of audio as the primary form of communication.
How does Social Audio work compare to traditional social media?
Social audio allows for a deeper level of communication and interaction than traditional forms of social media have in the past on other platforms. While most social media videos or audio files are meant to be consumed and even allow the ability to reply, social audio goes even further by allowing for live ephemeral conversations that are contained in virtual rooms or spaces. Often a host and co-hosts/moderators lead the conversation while listeners listen in live.
My 10 predictions for Social Audio in 2022
The 5 biggest platforms are going to emerge - Platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn are developing their own social audio platforms and while they are late adopters of social audio, we think they will quickly move into the Top 5 due to their existing user bases. The current top 5 in terms of concurrent users will then be Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, Facebook Live Audio, LinkedIn, and likely Spotify Greenroom. As a result of their existing user bases and support models, platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are expected to grow faster and maintain a larger presence.
More features will be introduced - Platforms will begin to offer more robust features including live audio chatrooms with direct messaging features and the ability to attach items to the room. Platforms have adopted the ability to use emoticons while in the audience and I feel this will become a standard practice across platforms. Recording and replayability have been some of the most requested features with the audio being repurposed into traditional podcasts and turned into interactive newsletters using the audio recordings. We have seen some really creative uses for audio from these live spaces.
Statistics will become more important for Creators and Advertisers - We will see an emergence of third-party tracking programs such as Spaces Dashboard and Direcon that allow creators to track statistics and provide real-time feedback on the effectiveness of the room. In the future, these stats and information will play an important role in attracting new creators and advertisers.
User demand for platform parity will lead to this feature becoming one of the most popular features - We will see platform parity with some more robust features moving to Desktop via the new mobile platforms in Windows 11 and Macs. While social audio was built for the mobile crowd, people are still looking for more desktop functionality and it will be important for Social Audio developers to consider how to tie mobile and desktop together.
Web 3.0 is here - Social Audio will continue to move into Web 3.0 space. There will be a whole new level of social audio resources and apps available in the AR / VR space, including live rooms and interactive content.
Creator Programs will expand - Platforms will compete with each other to attract top-quality talents. We have seen this happening with Twitter Spaces, which introduced the Sparks Program offering $2,500 per month over a three-month span. I expect other platforms to get on board with similar programs. As these programs evolve and grow, the barrier to enter into the creator programs will increase as the quality of hosts will become more demanding. Partner programs will also develop in a similar process to Twitch, with long-term partnership agreements, partner managers, and expanded opportunities for payout for performance.
Get your news in a whole new way - Major news platforms will adopt Social Audio with regularly running rooms and will push new areas of listener interaction with live interviews and shows produced exclusively for the social audio space. This will especially hold true as recording and replayability become normal features.
Expanded profiles will be needed - Some platforms will create entire profiles built around social audio similar to YT or Twitch, where listeners can subscribe to creators and listen to content created in a form of a dashboard or homepage. Content will live for a predetermined amount of time before being archived or removed. Which platform will be the first to offer a full-featured audio profile with audio recording lists and expanded bios?
New apps are arriving fast - Several new apps will emerge in 2022 with one or two possibly even upsetting the Top 5. It is hard to determine if apps such as Clubhouse will be able to maintain market share if they are only focused on Social Audio alone. Can Clubhouse stay in the Top 5?
New users will still discover Social Audio in 2022 - Social Audio will change how people interact with each other via social media. While video sites such as TikTok and Instagram have been the kings of 2020, social audio apps and platforms will continue to grow in popularity and use.
Who is The Social Village?
The Social Village Website provides an overview of over 80+ Social Audio companies, all on one website. Our goal is to do a complete review of every company and to completely understand how each stands alone and is special in its own ways. We are looking to develop a community within each of the major social audio platforms that can help to foster a positive experience. Our main purpose is to give people a chance to continue their social audio experience regardless of their preferred platform choice without feeling left out of the big picture. When we find exciting news and developments in social audio, you can rest assured we will be there to provide that information directly from the source.
Did we miss a Social Audio App or Website in the Directory?
Our goal is of course to provide coverage for all social audio applications and websites. Let us know if we are missing one via the contacts page. You can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions or questions.
For more info on Social Audio please visit our website - thesocialvillage.net
Chris Kirk - SocialAudioGuy
I am working on helping 80+ social audio apps to get discovered | Founder of The Social Village Website and Community | Host of The Social Village Podcast | Proud dad of 6 kids