If meme stocks can be a thing, what’s stopping audio meme sharing from going viral!? Hoping to storm the deafening arena of social audio and win friends amid the gamer/creator crowd, Voicy – a Netherlands-based startup building a platform for user-generated audio clips (usually a few seconds long), and tools to create emotional comment sharing examples to spice up your posts/streams.
It’s not hard to predict where this idea will go: outright fart-sfx and pwning-troll clips – which indeed abound on this fledgling platform for user-generated (or, well, sampled) audio. Thankful audio memes anyone?
Other viral sounds are available. Borat clips for example, or Squid Game sounds. Plus a cacophony of over-enthusiastic internet memes in audio form. John Oliver yells “GOOGLE IT!” repeatedly, or Epic Sax Guy’s epic saxophone, and so on.
The typical Voicy user is, unsurprisingly, young and trigger-happy, according to the startup — which views gamers’ voice chat as a prime target for a pipeline of social integrations it hopes to build. So far, it has one integration with the messaging app, Viber, but it offers a “simple universal API” to encourage other platforms to sign up.
Zoom out, Voicy’s stated mission is to do for sound clips what Giphy has done for GIFs.
“We want to create a new way for people to express themselves creatively in the way they communicate. In areas like gaming, where communicating with images or text doesn’t work as well, there’s a huge gap for audio to really enhance the experience,” co-founders Xander Kanon, Joey de Kruis and Milan Kokir suggest via email.
“As we’ve seen with memes and GIFs, people love to create their own very creative content. Audio has the potential to have the same, if not greater, impact on modern communications. We’ve seen from instant chat to emoticons to GIFs that people all over the world want to experiment with and just have fun with how they communicate – it’s one of the things we all have in common. Moreover, the competition between apps and platforms is fierce and they are all working hard to make their offerings stickier, more fun and more appealing. This is where Voicey comes into play.”
“From the beginning, we developed our platform to give users the express ability to create,” they add. “Our technology directly serves that purpose through an open source approach to content, with safeguards layered to moderate. With integrations, our approach has been to connect our platform with other platforms and give users wider access to content sharing. With the addition of public API, further integrations and a strong foundation within the platform, we believe our impact can be exponential.”
The platform fully launched in October 2020, according to the founders, and they’ve increased usage to 1.1 million monthly active users at this stage (although that includes usage through Viber, not just ears pulling them to their own platform) .
Other usage stats they share include that users have created some 145,000 sound clips to date, averaging 10k more per month. They also say that a Voicy user plays an average of 20 sound clips and shares one per visit.
While, following their recent partnership with Viber, users have sent more than 20 million audio messages there — which have been played 100 million times in just three months.
The startup plans to build a pipeline of third-party integrations to fuel further growth, with the help of a €1.2 million pre-seed raise announced today — in view of potential love affairs on social messaging — , streaming and gaming platforms. Or really anywhere where loud memes can find an appreciative audience.
“There are many potential integrations within social messaging, for example WhatsApp, FB Messenger; social video – Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube; gaming – Roblox, Ubisoft, Xbox, Discord; and streaming – Twitch, Streamlabs and Corsair,” they suggest, as they wind down the first list of consumer platforms.
Voicy’s pre-seed raise is led by Oliver Samwer’s Global Founders Capital, with a number of tech senior executives also joining from companies like Twitch, Spotify, Deezer, Snapchat, Booking, Uber, Reddit, Acast and Tesla.
Soheil Mirpour of Global Founders Capital said in a statement: “Voicy is a very exciting new startup. In a short period of time, their strong team has developed a huge community of very active users who create hundreds of pieces of new audio content every day. huge potential for short audio in social communication. A Discord user spends an average of 285 minutes per day on a Discord voice chat, people share 7 billion voice messages per day on WhatsApp alone and billions of people use short audio in their TikTok or Instagram Voicey brings a new concept to the table, ready to disrupt a massive market – we knew we had to invest.”
But why do web users need audio memes when there are already, er, audio GIFs? Isn’t this a rather niche proposition – given the existing overlap, plus the general (broad) competition from other ‘shareables’ comments that consumers can easily use to express themselves, from old emoji to customizable stickers to viral GIFs?
Silent response formats (like GIFs) also essentially benefit the sizable mobile crew who “never turn up the volume” — whose tacit (hate of voice messages) explains why even short video clips made to be shared on social media are usually Comes with captions to provide a baked alternative to appeal to every ear. (And, well, an audio meme with the sound off is just a few sad-looking pixels, right?… It’s entirely possible, though, that this is an older vs younger generation of internet users )
Unsurprisingly, Voicy users so far have been Gen Z or Gen Alpha, with a strong following amid the TikTok/Roblox generation, according to its founders. (“Our users use us for gaming, creation and messaging. In our user base, most of the users are in the US (60%). Majority of users are under 35 years old (75%+)”, also confirm.)
“The advantage of a sound clip over a GIF/sound GIF is its wider applicability,” said Voicey’s founders. “Practically, you can use a sound clip in your stream, while gaming, or to edit your video or your TikTok video/Youtube Short and use it in messages. You simply cannot do this with an audio GIF because of the user experience and practical limitations.”
“Audio memes are fun, iconic and unique shareable audio bites that can be used in any form of online communication to express thoughts or feelings in a specific context,” added the trio – who are self-professed avid gamers.
What about copyright risks? How do they deal with that problem? Voicey does not currently license audio content, but the founders suggest they will in the future. For now, they rely on fair use to recycle samples (plus their platform supports a DCMA reporting and disposal process). They say they also use a third-party service to prevent protected samples from being piped into third-party platforms they integrate with.
While it’s still early days for such a consumer-focused product to focus on monetization, the team says they’re building Voicy as a marketplace — ultimately planning to focus on the needs of the market. maker community.
“We believe our long-term opportunity lies in enabling creators to monetize their content,” they tell TechCrunch. “As the creator economy continues to grow at a rapid pace, we provide them with a platform to create, cut, distribute, earn and build a community around their sonic identity. With a large integration network and a final destination platform for consuming and interacting with sounds and sound makers, Voicy can monetize its library and integrations. Voicey can offer tremendous value on both the supply and demand side.”
“More specifically, our business model will focus on sub-licensing clips and providing additional premium features for creators to do what they do best: create content. Content will have the ability to be sublicensed to integration partners, fans, other creators and premium consumers,” they add.
This post Voicy wants to pwn gamers with audio memes TechCrunch was original published at “https://techcrunch.com/2022/05/19/voicy-pre-seed/”