Audio-based content economy: Opportunities & Monetization

How to build the future of audio-based apps?

Zoe Chew
6 min readMay 5, 2022


👋 I’m Zoe: builder, advisor, ever curious, built 11 MVPs, featured on Lifehacker, Product Hunt #1, and tech blogs in 7 countries. Also a Medium Top Writer & HackerNoon winner in VC topics. I’m part of On Deck Founder, ODF10.

At Venturescale, I unpack new insights about profitable markets — and how you can build and monetize the future of consumer tech. Today, we’ll focus on audio-based apps. Read here if you’re interested in online shopping, D2C, Fintech, E-Commerce.

Future of audio in digital media

Audio-based content tends to have the biggest “real estate” of attention. Unlike watching a YouTube video or reading an article that requires active engagement — you can listen to Spotify while working out, play an audiobook while driving, or join a conversation on Clubhouse while walking down the street.

In this post, we will examine companies that transform the way we interact with digital media through audio. I’ll exclude music-focused companies because they deserve a separate study. If you want to start something in the online media space, keep on reading — we will unlock exciting opportunities!

1. Key trends

(1) Spotify is investing heavily in audio:

(2) Audio-based platforms are becoming the target for acquisitions:

  • Non-audio-focused companies acquire podcasting services.
  • Amazon Music acquired Art19, a podcast hosting plus monetization platform.
  • Medium has acquired Knowable, a platform that lets you learn from podcast-like courses featuring top experts.

(3) Workplace conversations are going audio:

  • Not every conversation needs to be on Zoom video calls. Companies are bringing audio calls to the remote workplace.
  • Slack launched Slack Huddles, an audio-first way to communicating in Slack. Instead of typing out in DMs, you can invite specific people to join, and share your screen to work side-by-side with your team.
  • Yac is an asynchronous voice messaging for remote teams.


(🔒 Full version) +5 more key trends in the audio space. These insights will help you capture specific customer needs:

🔑 (4/8) How do new players unbundle TikTok? (2 company examples)

🔑 (5/8) If you’re building a creator platform, apply this trend to retain creators on your platform (2 company examples)

🔑 (6/8) How to cut through the noises and stand out as a new social media platform (2 company examples)

🔑 (7/8) How to unbundle education using audio (2 company examples)

🔑 (8/8) How to increase user experience using audio (3 company examples)

Get Full Access 📝 ::

2. Market players, competitors & databases

Find market niches in the audio space, discover competitors, and explore ways to differentiate your new ideas:

  • 🏢 Total 66 company examples across different niches.
  • 🔖 Total 7 positioning categories in the audio space.
  • 🗃 Company databases with key information: value proposition, website link, funding type, total funding raised, year founded, company size, and location.
  • 👌 Filter competitors by categories. Or search by product name, country, funding stage, etc.

Try the database 👀 ::

3. How to differentiate and win?

(1) Ecosystem moat:

  • Slack is building an ecosystem of social networks for the enterprise.
  • Interconnected feedback loop: Internally, organizations use Channel to connect with colleagues. Externally, you can use Slack Connect to work with people outside your company.
  • By adding an audio feature like Huddles, Slack is able to create product stickiness, i.e. when the product becomes spontaneous, discovery and repeat usage become more frequent.

(2) Time to consume:

  • Podcasts last between 30 mins to an hour. Clubhouse conversations never seem to end. But bite-sized voice content is just nice.
  • Racket is positioned to be the “mini podcasts”, i.e. 9 mins maximum, no editing, no audio effects. It’s anti-long-form content.


(🔒 Full version) +3 more differentiation strategies in the audio space:

🔑 (3/5) How to spot specific market needs and create niche solutions?

🔑 (4/5) How to create a solution that competes in a differentiated market category?

🔑 (5/5) How to apply audio in an enterprise-focused market that has consumer-facing users?

4. How to monetize?

(1) Premium app features:

  • Discord doesn’t monetize through ads.
  • Users can choose to use the platform for free — or upgrade to its Nitro subscription package that costs $9.99/month (with enhanced Discord experience such as server boosting, HD video, bigger upload sizes, avatars, badges, etc.) or $4.99/month (without server boosting).

(2) Transaction fees:

  • Anchor offers podcasting tools and it’s free for everyone — no hosting fees, trial periods, or paywalls.
  • To generate revenue, the Anchor Sponsorships program connects podcasters with brands to create custom audio advertisements.
  • Podcast creators can earn money and Anchor takes a small fee.


(🔒 Full version) +3 more monetization strategies for audio-based platforms:

🔑 (3/5) Bonus strategies to monetize creator-based audio platforms.

🔑 (4/5) Example on how to monetize using SaaS business model in the audio space.

🔑 (5/5) Example on how to execute a mixed monetization model to generate revenue.

5. What are the next big things?

(1) Audio-based platforms will explode beyond social networks:

  • Audio-first approach is being applied in remote work (Slack Huddles) and education (Knowable).
  • Digital health uses communication tools to connect with therapists, general practitioners, and specialists. Audio-first solutions will emerge in the healthcare space as telehealth companies are on the rise.
  • Potential use case: patients can use audio calls instead of video calls to report symptoms.

(2) Audio as a digital marketing strategy:

  • More and more content sites are offering audio articles. For example, you can now listen to this Medium post on product/market fit.
  • The benefits: increased user engagement, faster to consume content, and available on-the-go.
  • Solutions that convert articles into audio articles will be able to capture revenues from the media space and creator economy.

(3) Data and analytics in audio content:

  • Podsights (acquired by Spotify) provides insights for podcast advertisers. Chartable (acquired by Spotify) offers analytics and attribution tools that help publishers understand their ad spend.
  • There will be more solutions that apply data analytics when it comes to interacting with podcasts, audio clips, voice notes, and snippets.
  • One category to look at is analytics for remote meeting transcription. Help remote teams retrieve meeting highlights using AI, evaluate tasks, and meeting effectiveness.


(🔒 Full version) +3 more ways to build for the future of audio-first use cases:

🔑 (4/6) What does the future of creators economy look like using an audio-first approach?

🔑 (5/6) How can existing online businesses increase user experience through audio?

🔑 (6/6) What does the future of audio/voice tech look like (including 2 company examples, one raised $20M another raised $2.1M)

6. Startup opportunities


(🔒 Full version) 3 specific product ideas and business opportunities that are solving problems. You’ll unlock:

🔑 (1/3) Consumer-facing productivity app idea

🔑 (2/3) Influencer-focused audio app idea

🔑 (3/3) Social networking for mental health using audio-first approach

Unlock Full Access 👉 ::



Zoe Chew

Built 11+ MVPs. Founder: Analyzing Consumer Tech & Platforms. On Deck ODF10. Product advisor US/APAC 👉About me: