The Newest Social Audio App: Racket
We’re hungry for audio content. A hundred million of us now listen to podcasts each month, and ad revenue on the medium will top a billion dollars this year. Downloaded audiobooks generated $675.6 million in publisher revenue in 2020 — up 17% from a year ago— and prominent authors like Malcom Gladwell are talking about leading with audio going forward.
Smart speakers like Alexa and Google Home will be in the majority of homes by the end of this year. Meanwhile AirPods + loneliness + Clubhouse seems to have kicked off a wave of social audio apps, led by Clubhouse but including Locker Room (recently acquired by Spotify,) Twitter Spaces, and Quilt.
The latest is an app called Racket, and it’s the simplest of all to get started on. As a listener you can snack on a series of short audio clips (up to 9 minutes each) with just a click, a system that replaces the long form loyalty of the podcast experience with something more focused on sampling and discovery. You can make a Racket right from the browser on your phone with no specialized equipment or editing, and even record with others using a private link to your “studio” in real time. Early adopters are using the platform to share ideas, capture spontaneous hot takes, do short interviews (like this one with the great Steve Schlafman,) or even capture and share their daily gratitude. The overall affect is one of authenticity and spontaneity, and if you can see past the often lower quality audio, you’re rewarded with just the kind of casual intimacy with a new person I think we’re all hungry for right now.
I followed some folks with interesting things to say and set up a profile here. To get started I’m sharing ideas that strike me as worthwhile, a series I’m calling “A Good Idea.” The first episode lays out the basics and describes a beautiful insight I got from author George Saunders had about the importance of kindness in dealing with others, and the second is about something that struck me profoundly as I toured the Wright Brothers National Memorial this weekend.
It’s obviously too early to tell if Racket itself is A Good Idea, though it seems to me like it could be. I’m going to stick with it a while and see what happens, strongly encourage you to check it out as well, and if you do please give me a follow.