I had a very informative chat with Amit Kukreja, CEO of Audea, an audio platform positioned to become the YouTube of audio content.
Amit Kukreja is the CEO/CoFounder at Audea - a platform aiming to give more creators discovery for their audeas, or audio-ideas.
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Carl Richards: This is The Write Connection. This podcast is designed to help you choose the right words and stories in your business content to create authentic connections with prospects, clients, partners and colleagues. Now the host of The Write Connection, Katherine Burrows.
Katherine Burrows: Hello and welcome to The Write Connection, today I'm chatting with Amit Kukreja CEO of audea.io Welcome Amit.
Amit Kukreja: Thank you for having me Katherine, happy to be here.
Katherine Burrows: So maybe you can explain to us and my listeners and I a little bit about your story, how you got to this place, where you are.
Amit Kukreja: Yeah, absolutely. I'm excited to be here I think that the podcasting industry and podcast and market, and in general audio content is exploding. The pandemic helped accelerate that new forms of mediums in terms of how people consuming content have exploded that and I think when any form of content essentially explodes or a medium of content explodes, then there's a lot more opportunity for people to get discovered for their content in that medium that ends up becoming big. So in 2010 or 2000, it was blogging and written word 2010 It was video with YouTube and I think 20 20 and beyond for this decade, it's really going to be audio the problem is there is a major issue with discovery whenever any new form of content becomes super relevant and super exciting for people platforms have to emerge to get those independent voices from people like you and I that aren't giant media companies.
We're just someone here sitting with a mic to get our voices heard by the masses, whether it's through video format, article, or audio. And I think right now we're in a prime position for the audio industry to have a platform that can use targeted machine learning, artificial intelligence algorithms. And I know those are big fancy words, but essentially those words mean you upload a piece of content that is about a specific subject and the platform can do the really hard job of figuring out what audience can actually find that content and create that symbiotic relationship between the creator and the consumer and that's a really hard relationship to create. I mean, that's essentially doing marketing for someone and you can only do that when you make a platform that is big enough to have that type of reach so Audea is a platform that is trying to become what a YouTube did for video, which is a search based centralized platform where people can find and discover video content for audio and I think if we can do that, we can really help a lot of creators get discovered.
Katherine Burrows: Okay. So I can go on Audea and I could search for something about weight loss or how to take care of my dog, or basically any kind of search terms that you would normally put into Google or YouTube.
Amit Kukreja: Pretty much exactly, you can go on Audea and pretty much search for anything and that's kind of the goal like creators that get discovered at the end of the day, those creators have to have some level of a platform surfacing their content when people are looking for their content. So if you're doing weight loss content, if you're doing how to train your dog content, there needs to be a platform where people that are searching for these topics can go to type in keywords and then because have tagged the content with your keywords, those things pop up currently that doesn't exist for Audea, that exists for video with TikTok and YouTube that exists for photos obviously with Instagram and that exists for text with Twitter. Twitter is a search engine for words, I don't believe there is a genuine search engine for audio and we can get into the conversation because people are probably thinking well, what about Spotify and apple? But because that doesn't exist, I think if we create that, there's a massive opportunity there.
Katherine Burrows: Okay. So how is Audea different than what else is out there?
Amit Kukreja: The big boys? How are we different than Spotify and apple? Well, this is very important for people to understand I'm gonna break it down for people who don't have a technical background in podcasting and for people that do, they hopefully will understand this more. Podcasts are distributed and when I mean distributed I mean like gone into the planet, like how do people find this stuff? How are they distributed through a model that I think is fundamentally broken? And that model is through an RSS feed. An RSS feed is a decentralized protocol, a method by which an individual has complete ownership over that RSS feed and they publish an episode in the feed through any posting service, there's thousands of them and that RSS hosting service then shoots out the feed of the audio that you have self-published into the RSS feed, into any app that connects to the RSS feed.
Now, any app on the planet can connect to an RSS feed it's very simple because the RSS feed is a open decentralized way for people to access content. It's not like secured in one server so Spotify has access to your content, Apple has access to your content and then there's a trillion other apps that have access to your same audio content, Spotify and apple are the only ones that are really relevant. Now the problem with this is that it's led to more openness, I guess you could say it's led to people feeling like they have ownership over their content and sometimes I'm on an island on this, but I think more and more people will recognize having ownership of your content doesn't mean anything if your content isn't discovered so putting your content on an RSs feed and being on a trillion different apps really doesn't matter if the world is not on those trillions of different apps, because your content is meant to be consumed.
And if no one's consuming it, your content really doesn't matter at that point. So on YouTube like you put up a video, there is no open RSS feed to distribute video it's like a thousand different video services, there's YouTube and the amount of trillions of dollars of value and opportunity that YouTube has created for individual people. We were talking about amateurs making a couple thousand bucks a month just because they're talking about something they wanna talk about, but putting it on a platform that is giving them the ability to find an audience, that is just priceless for what YouTube has done for video and those content creators in that community. If YouTube was in this decentralized RSS model, it would not have that impact and because podcasting has been traditionally formatted through that podcasting decentralized model, I believe it's not having that impact.
So Spotify and Apple have the same type of content because all of its being sourced from an RSS feed. There's no unique differentiation between the both platforms other than the user experience, which is why Spotify and Apple have gone down this route of becoming a Netflix of podcast Spotify, more so than which is where they're buying podcasts, they're buying Barack and Michelle Obama's podcast, they're buying Call Her Daddy, they're buying Gimlet Media. They've spent upwards of, I think, 780 million over the past two years buying exclusive podcasts. They're buying Joe Rogan and they've got some issues with Joe Rogan right now. And so they're becoming this sort of Media Company and you could claim they're a Netflix of podcasts. Well, that might be good for business, but that's really horrible for creators cause if I'm an individual person talking about weight loss and Joe Rogan that the platform that I'm hoping to get distribution on, which is Spotify does an interview with a weight loss expert and they paid him a hundred million dollars to do these interviews, guess which one's showing up on the home feed.
There's one home feed. And if the company that I'm distributing on paid a hundred million dollars to the guy who's doing the same type of content as me, I'm not getting on the home feed It's that simple. So because Spotify and Apple have used the RSS feed for distribution and they realize there's no difference between the content that they both have, it's the same. They have to differentiate by buying exclusive stuff because exclusive means it's here, not there. Well, that's great but then the people, the creators, the thing that Spotify stands for it's like, we care about creators. It's like no, you don't, you care about the person you gave a hundred million to and this is no shade at Spotify, this is just facts so at that point, I think there is a problem with Spotify, Apple and sort of the other big audio distribution platforms because they don't give discovery to average creators.
And the way we solve this is by having a genuine YouTube of audio, a platform that is algorithmic discovery to say hey, Katherine uploaded a piece of content around how to train your dogs. We don't really care who Katherine is we just know that she made a piece of content around dogs we're gonna put it in front of some people that might care about dogs and if they click on it and they're listening to it, we can use all these metrics to recommend more of Katherine's content, to other people that like dogs that doesn't exist on Spotify and Apple because they have this exclusive relationship with people like Joe Rogan so Audea is trying to become that.
Katherine Burrows: That is awesome. So once you get your content up on Audea what are some ways to get it out to the audience you have to put in some search words that people will be searching for.
Amit Kukreja: Yeah. One, really important thing to understand about Audea is, podcasters they've been kind of brainwashed in terms of oh, I just upload the audio file and then it goes out into the world and it's like, the reason 95% of them quit is because they don't get any discovery. Like no one listens and it's discouraging. Well it's like, why is no one listening? Well, not only is the platform not actually pushing your content but the platform is not built to push out your content. And on Audea it's a little bit harder to like get up and going and I say a little bit, which is very relative I don't think it's that hard. It just requires a little bit more work and the reason it requires a little bit more work is cause the upside of spending an extra couple of minutes putting in the terms of what you've talked about in the podcast will be monumental as the platform scales because you'll get discovered.
So on our platform, you have to give us a title, you have to give us a description, you have to give us some tags and then you have to upload a nice thumbnail. Most podcast feeds they just upload the logo of the podcast, which doesn't work on Audea cause we're actually taking your audios and we're putting them in front of people. So if your logo pops up Audea on the platform, pops up with your logo, why would someone click on it? They don't even know who you are so if you're making a podcast or making an audio about how to save on your taxes, maybe have a picture of a dollar sign as your Audea thumbnail, because at least it's somewhat relevant to the title of the content that you're creating, additionally, to get discovered on Audea you wanna make your titles SEO friendly.
A lot of people are accustomed to episode 53 interview with [inaudible09:10 ] It's like, well that's not really interesting cause no one knows who I am, no one cares that it's episode 53 but if you say this guy is trying to destroy Spotify, well that's a little bit more interesting. I'm not trying to destroy Spotify, but if we do that, it would be pretty awesome and then there's a picture of me and the Spotify logo with maybe some fire in between it, like that captivates people its basic supply and demand of attention. Well, then there's a better chance people click on it. And on Audea what we are trying to get people to recognize is if you put in a little bit more work on thumbnail, title, description and tags, our algorithms will have a much better chance of taking your content and putting it in front of people that may actually click on it and as a result, there's gonna be more discovery.
Katherine Burrows: So all of those things should change like the tags and the logo or icon from episode to episode, you shouldn't just be using the same tags over and over, copy and paste.
Amit Kukreja: Yeah. If you do law of attraction episodes and each one is a different type of law of attraction episode, but the general tags are the same then yeah of course use the same ones. But the title in and of itself should really change because the title is supposed to be SEO friendly and probably the description, you can leave all the basic parts of description, like where to follow you on social but like you should give some insight into what this audio is gonna be about. But yeah tag can be differentiated based upon episodes you release.
Katherine Burrows: Okay. And would you say it's easy or difficult to market podcasts and why?
Amit Kukreja: It's not just difficult. It's like imagine trying to pick up a Boulder on the empire state building and climbing down with the Boulder on the empire state building as those people where they try to like wash the windows like you're on that type of thing as you're coming down like it is 10 trillion times harder than it needs to be right now because the method of distribution that exists and eventually that's gonna have to change. The reason it's so difficult is because there is not a search engine where people are actively going to look for audio and this is not me ideologically saying this, I've had a conversation with over 800 podcasters we launched in April so since April I've been on zoom calls 800 times, at least 30 minutes each just, just listening to what podcasters have to say, I am a podcaster as well.
So I've been through the struggles. I understand what it feels like and then when I'm talking to these people, they're like [inaudible11:17] the reason they even tried to join Audea is because they were like, look, your solution may work. It may not work, but at least it's better than just posting into the graveyard that is the RSS feed on Spotify and Apple. It's such a disservice because most podcasters are getting discovered on YouTube, the reason for that is cause YouTube's not even oriented for audio, but YouTube has such a vast recommendation engine that if you make a podcast on weight loss, it'll pop up in front of some people and then they'll find your Spotify and Apple. But like you need a distribution mechanism I cannot understate how important it is, you need some level of distribution in order for people to even find you in the first place so the reason it's so difficult is because this RSSD decentralized model of distribution offers zero discoverability, which is why podcasters then go to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and try to find that those platforms are really saturated. So if you could have an audio platform that also had audio distribution at scale, then I think it could get a lot easier.
Katherine Burrows: And what about the length of your podcast? Like do people tend to be more attracted, just shorter or longer content?
Amit Kukreja: Yeah, that's a good question, one of the things we're saying on Audea is to not upload 40, 50 minute long episodes and it's not that you shouldn't upload those. You should, but you should prioritize optimizing the 7 to 15 minute range audios because if you're a new podcaster or not even new, but if you're a podcaster and you have 45 minutes of an episode and it pops up in my feed, it's like why would I click on that? So podcasters, think right now that we should upload this 45 minutes into the RSS feed and then it goes into the RSS feed and you drive the traffic. So if you have an engaged Twitter community and you're like hey, new episode out those Twitter community people, because they followed you are more likely to listen to 45 minutes because they actually care about you.
But when you're talking about new audiences, new people, people that don't know who you are, they are barely gonna give you a couple minutes of their time. So like I was scrolling on YouTube the other day and a video popped up about Drake versus Michael Jackson, I'm a huge Drake fan he's a hip hop star I'm a even bigger Michael Jackson fan. I clicked on it I don't know who the guy was, I didn't know if he was a music reviewer or he was some random guy just spreading his thoughts but I really cared about that topic, that algorithm found that [inaudible13:18] Drake and Michael Jackson, they put it in front of me, I clicked on it, I listened to it was good analysis it was only eight minutes I subscribe to him and now I'm subscribed to this guy who does a ton of music content.
And occasionally I'll listen to his stuff, but for him to get me to actually subscribe to him, he had to not only have good content in those eight minutes, it had to actually be eight minutes. Cause I wasn't listening to 80 minutes of a conversation on this so I think short form audios not like 3o second Twitter audio bites, I think those are absolutely ridiculous and I hate those, but I think at least five to 15 minute pieces of valuable content are good enough to at least attract people in terms of top of the funnel brand awareness and then they're more excited or likely to listen to the 45 minute episode.
Katherine Burrows: That's awesome, so where do you see Audea going, like what's your vision in one year, five years?
AMIT KUKREJA: We're struggling right now with growth, I think we have a phenomenal idea, I think we have a good team. We tried raising some money with investors that's going not as well as we want it to go, I mean, this is the real struggles that you have with the startup I think we have one of the greatest ideas on the planet, but we need to get people to know about it and people to care about it and we've received enough validation from the community that we're targeting. That it is a good idea, it is something to pursue over the past six months that makes me more than optimistic about it but in terms of growth it’s hard to say one year, five year where we're at, cause it's completely contingent upon my ability really as a CEO to execute and get people to care about it.
And that's a fun journey because I think one of the coolest things about being alive is that if you have an idea, you have the opportunity to pursue that idea. But in pursuit of that idea, you need to get other people to give a crap about that idea and that is where the fun part comes in, cause you gotta figure out how do you get people to care. If I can get people to care I think we will be as big as Spotify one day and I say that really with the intentions of, I genuinely think Ted talkers, motivational speakers, poets, comedians, podcasters, consultants, coaches, thought leaders there's just a wide diversity and variety of content creators that will leverage Audea to be able to drive traffic to what they need to be able to do and to build legitimate audiences and to monetize their audio content. Cause I think we have a business model that's gonna be a lot better than what Spotify and Apple is offering, but it's a very difficult thing to do so hopefully in a year from now, if I figured out how to get people to give a crap, then we'll be headed off to the races.
Amit Kukreja: So what can people do to help you spread the word about Audea?
Katherine Burrows: The best thing to do would be to check us out, to sign up for an account, download the app we're on the app store, not on Android yet a Audea and just check it out, give us a rating on apple It doesn't have to be five stars could give us your honest thoughts like just, I want to know more about what the general public, not even creators think about the platform and if you are a creator, you try posting some audios see how it feels, see how the experience is. See if you can find good content on the platform so we're dealing with trying to figure out how do we, algorithmically target the best content on the platform in front of people if anyone who's listening can go on the platform and just see if they can find something that's relevant and meaningful to them that would be awesome to get that feedback just to see how people are engaging with the platform.
Katherine Burrows: Okay. That sounds great, I'll definitely post the links below to that, so thank you so much Amit for your time today and for joining me on The Write Connection. Thanks so much for listening today I hope something in today's episode inspired you to tell your own story more creatively, please join me next time for more about how authentic words and stories create The Write Connection.
Carl Richards: Thanks for listening to The Write Connection. What did you think of the show today? Give us a rating and leave us a comment if you have a question for Katherine, reach out to her by sending her an email, The Write Connection@KatherineBurrowscreative.com or visit her website, Katherine burrowscreative.com. And don't forget to follow Katherine on social media thanks again for listening to The Write Connection.