Podcast app

Mark Cuban co-founded a podcast app where hosts can talk to fans live and monetize their conversations

Mark Cuban is getting into the audio and podcasting hype. Alongside co-founder Falon Fatemi, he plans to launch Fireside, a “next-generation podcast platform” that facilitates live conversation, according to an email sent to potential creative partners seen by The edge. The idea of ​​the app is similar to the Live Audio Starter Clubhouse, except for the ability to record conversations natively. A source close to Fireside said the app plans to launch publicly this year.

Fatemi, who co-founded and sold customer relationship service AI Node, promises a platform on which creators can stream, record and monetize conversations while using Fireside’s built-in analytics tools to determine what content works best. . The app, according to a now expired engineering job posting, raised a “multi-million dollar” round of funding to get started. The source close to the company said creators will be presented with various offers and ways to monetize, and the app won’t let anyone speak in public. It will be a highly organized experience.

The startup is still apparently in stealth mode. It is not known when it was founded, but the vacancies were posted as early as September. Fatemi left Node in August, saying at the time that she would be moving to a “new company”. She hasn’t registered Fireside on her LinkedIn yet. Cuban and Fatemi have already collaborated on Node, Cuban investing in the product. His status as a co-founder on Fireside brings him back to the audio space. He and Todd Wagner sold Internet radio company Broadcast.com for $ 5.7 billion in 1999 to Yahoo.

“Today we say goodbye to the current limitations of multimedia platforms created by one-way conversations, a lack of interactivity and non-existent analytics,” Fatemi wrote in the email to the creators. “We’re leveling the playing field by holding creators accountable for what they have to say (not how loud they shout) and we give their ideas the scope to turn a single conversation into the seed of the next media empire. . “

Fireside’s job posting claims that “social media has failed us” in creating “antagonistic echo chambers with means of communication that only foster a culture of outrage and business models that incite to spread disinformation ”. Fireside, the publication says, seeks to foster “intelligent civil discourse, shared connected experiences and true relationship building virtually” through its broadcast platform, which “will foster social impact through meaningful conversations at scale. “.

As part of this goal, Fatemi is reaching out to podcast makers established on the “Founding Firesider” spots, apparently to build a first list of Fireside users.

Fatemi declined to comment and Cuban confirmed that “yes” he is a co-founder.

The app is unrelated to the Fireside podcast hosting and analytics platform, which has been around since 2016. Dan Benjamin, Founder and CEO of Fireside, said there is no connection between both services. “Creating a memorable brand is a challenge, and we’ve heard from customers (and potential customers) who are confused about it before,” he writes at The edge. “It’s surprising and more than a little worrying. I imagine they just hadn’t realized that we here at Fireside had been hosting podcasts for almost five years, or my personal involvement in podcasting since 2006. Of course, I invite them. to contact me so that we can start a dialogue and find a solution.

Cuban and Fatemi’s Fireside joins a legion of other audio apps looking to make live audio a regular way to interact online. Clubhouse, in particular, was launched last year and has grown steadily, even as an invite-only service, and has attracted big names like Elon Musk. The platform now has millions of users, and its team is looking to help creators monetize through a formal program. Twitter is also testing Spaces, its own take on live streamed conversations. While these aren’t formal podcasting apps – there’s no way to natively record a Clubhouse conversation – they all seem to be benefiting from the Spotify hype backed by Spotify.

Spotify has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire established podcasting networks and technologies, as well as to secure exclusive deals with big-name stars like Joe Rogan and the Obama family. Meanwhile, Apple, the original creator of podcasts, would explore launching a podcast subscription service, and Amazon Music and Audible would also invest in introducing podcasts to their platforms.

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