Digital Media

Spotify launches the Google Docs of podcasting

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Soundtrap, a music-making program that Spotify bought in 2017, is releasing a new version of its software designed for podcasters. 


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Next up in Spotify‘s podcasting binge: a program that makes mixing and mastering a podcast easier than putting together a Powerpoint presentation. 

Soundtrap for Storytellers, launching today globaly, is an online program meant to make podcasting accessible for anyone who believes they everything it takes to be a top podcaster except any sort of audio-engineering skills. One of its slickest tricks is interactive transcripts that synch with your audio recording, allowing you to edit the spoken-word audio file as you would in a text document. 

The program has a two-week free trial and offers access to many of its tools, with limitations, free. To unlock the full suite, a monthly subscription is $15 a month. Paying upfront for an annual plan breaks down to $12 a month.

Spotify acquired Soundtrap at the end of 2017. At that point, and ever since, Soundtrap focused on its music-making program designed to let normal humans record and mix tunes without any sort of audio engineering know-how. Or, as Soundtrap cofounder and managing director Per Emanuelsson put it last week, “if you go into any music making tool today, it looks like the cockpit of an airplane.”

“So many people are trying to be creative but they didn’t they could do it themselves,” Emanuelsson said last week in an interview after presenting the Storytellers product to a group of professional podcasters. Soundtrap’s music-creation tool was designed in the hope of democratizing the ability to produce recorded music. 

“That’s what we hope we’ll see here in the podcasting space as well,” he said.   

Spotify itself is on a serious podcast binge, as it looks for ways to lure in new and different listeners. Earlier this year, the company bought podcast companies Gimlet and Anchor, part of a $400 million to $500 million podcast investment effort this year. Podcast users spend almost twice the time on Spotify, CEO Daniel Ek has said. “By having unique programming, people who previously thought Spotify was not right for them will give it a try.”

And as music culture has shifted to streaming, Spotify and Apple Music have emerged as the leaders in the race to dominate subscription tunes. Spotify remains the biggest streaming service by both subscribers and those who listen for free by far. But Apple Music has been growing quickly, and its iTunes service remains the world’s de facto place to find and download podcasts

People who create their podcasts on Soundtrap for Storytellers aren’t locked into Spotify for any kind of publishing exclusive. The tool has a tool to publish quickly and easily on Spotify, but podcasters are free to download their final mixes and publish them anywhere they like. 

The program also has a a psuedo-Skype inside the program itself to record interviews with remote guests, and because it’s cloud-based, multiple people can work on the same podcast even if they’re scattered around the world. It also has a big library of free sound effects and built-in instruments and looping tools to make your own jingles. 

The program is available to use globally, but the interactive transcripts are only available for English spoken word recordings. The company said other languages are coming but didn’t specify a timeline. 

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