We’ve already talked a lot about podcasting, both evolution of the industry as well as the form, but where are we going with the future of audio, more broadly? Can we borrow from the present and future of video (e.g., TikTok) to see what’s next in audio (more layers, more interactivity)? Can we borrow from the past of audio (i.e., radio) to see what’s next for audio experiences (more blending of music, talk, podcasting)? Where do all these mediums converge and where do they diverge — when it comes to user experience, product design, recommendations, discovery?
Gustav Söderström, chief R&D officer (who oversees the product, design, data, and engineering teams) at Spotify — the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service — joins this episode of the a16z Podcast for a deep dive on all things audio with a16z general partner Connie Chan and editor in chief Sonal Chokshi. They cover the past, present, and future of audio — going high level into the big trends and also dipping down into the trenches — especially given the increased blending of talk/ podcasting, music, more. What are the challenges to designing for different mediums, on both front end and back end (including machine learning and different graphs), when listeners want everything in one place when and where they want it… yet their contexts shift?
But the conversation more broadly is really more about what happens when we give creators (of all kinds!) tools — not just for expression but for fan engagement and monetization too. We also discuss the themes of super apps and full-stack approaches when it comes to innovating on top of a protocol, as well as how innovation happens in practice: How do mediums — and organizations — evolve, prioritize, “disrupt themselves”? All this and more in this episode.
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