A new podcast player lets you see what your friends are listening to and recommending

A new podcast app is designed to solve the problem of discovering new shows. Co-founders Pete Curley and Garret Heaton (who previously founded and sold HipChat) launched Swoot this past week, and the big idea is to let listeners see what shows their friends follow, as well as the shows and episodes they recommend, all in the name of getting people to discover new content. When you search for podcasts, for example, you may see your friend’s face pop up as a listener. Otherwise, it functions as any other podcast player does. The duo raised $3 million to bring the concept to life.

Podcasts have a discovery problem, Curley says, which is what most podcast executives will tell you. Spotify wants to solve for it. So does NPR and everyone else who has a podcast and wants more listeners. Unlike a viral TikTok or Instagram post, there’s no easy way to share a podcast and make it engaging enough to click on and enjoy. That’s where friend recommendations come into play, Curley says.

I see Swoot as akin to something like Last.fm

I see Swoot as akin to something like Last.fm, the music social network that lets people see what their friends are enjoying. I used to rely on it in college to find new artists, before Spotify made my playlists for me. In theory, Swoot could pull this off for podcasts. If I see my friend enjoying a show that I’ve heard about, I could message them and ask if it’s good, or if I already listen, I could talk to them about it. Curley tells me that’s his use case. He found my podcast, Why’d You Push That Button, and said when he looked it up, his co-founder was already a listener, which gave him an added dose of confidence.

This means that for the app to succeed, your friends need to be on it, so you’ll have to get the people you know to switch players. You can find friends in the app through Facebook, Twitter, your contacts, or looking them up by username.

I don’t know if Swoot can solve the podcast discovery problem, or if it can even encourage people to leave their default podcast player, but it’s an interesting concept. I know a few friends who would love a service like this, if only to evangelize for the shows they find on their own. Most other attempts at solving discovery are seemingly aimed at creating better recommendation engines, based off your own listening habits, and this is clearly a very different approach. With Spotify investing millions in the space, and venture capitalists putting their money behind multiple podcast startups, the market is still developing and maybe there’s hope for small startups.

source : http://www.theverge.com

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