Voicehub app: social media meets group podcasts and live conversations

Voicehub is currently launching an app that wants to popularize live group podcasts for specific communities. Clubhouse has already done this in the USA. Find out what Voicehub is all about.

If you look at the latest developments in digital communication platforms, you can get the impression that the digital world is facing a major change in communication practice. Because of the corona crisis, the opportunities to exchange ideas with industry-specific interest groups at conferences or meetups have been restricted. This often productive communication has shifted more and more into video conferencing or text-based conversations. But especially the – also spontaneous – form of focus groups, even real hubs, and the uncomplicated format of the group discussion can drive your own developments and ideas.

In Silicon Valley, the Clubhouse app is already causing a sensation, which virtually allows the creation of audio chat rooms – and has now been valued at over $ 100 million. In Germany Voicehub is now sending its own interactive social podcast app to the test. The founder Tom Mayr explains what exactly the Voicehub app makes possible and why the hubs clearly distance themselves from well-known social media.

Audio meets Chat Hubs: Use untapped potential

Audio-based content such as podcasts have enjoyed great popularity for years, which has made platforms like Spotify long-term influencers of user behavior. Nevertheless, the digital audio market is less developed in other contexts than that of audio consumption than the visually dominated platforms such as Instagram or TikTok. Large social media such as Facebook with messenger rooms or companies such as Google and Microsoft offer space for an exchange in interest groups thanks to Hangouts, Meet or Skype and teams. However, the combination of the advantages of closed hubs for individual groups and the special auditory communication – which, similar to podcasts – leaves scope for parallel use, appears innovative.

Apps for promoting topic-specific discussions based on audio could gain particular weight in the business context. Because social distancing and an increasingly digital and centered society are causing creative meetings to shift to the digital and very often mobile cosmos. The founder explains about Voicehub, an app in which people with the same interests can exchange ideas and get in touch Tom Mayr accordingly:

Tom Mayr from Voicehub
Tom Mayr from Voicehub, © Voicehub

Audio has grown rapidly over the past few years. Amazon Echo, Google Home and AirPods have fueled growth in the market and, among other things, contributed to the fact that the consumption of audio content has increased extremely. Voicehub also offers a new approach. We enable people from all over the world to exchange ideas and create audio content together extremely easily. Without buying expensive equipment or inviting guests to interviews. This is of great interest, especially in times of social distancing and less travel.

Mayr and his team are currently testing the app they have just developed in a beta test with 100 users, including VCs from the USA. At the same time, the Clubhouse app in the USA underlines how relevant such a medium can become. Because Clubhouse recently had fewer than 5,000 beta test users, Forbes reports. Nevertheless, the app was valued at over $ 100 million because the renowned venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz had launched a Series A funding that, according to Forbes, included at least $ 10 million in upfront capital. A boost from comedy star Kevin Hart, which appeared in one of the virtual chat rooms, provided the boost in popularity and financial interest.

At Clubhouse, users can use pop-up audio chat rooms. They disappear after the meetup ends. The spontaneity of this communication should add to its appeal. The New York Times will Sonia Baschez, a digital marketing consultant and beta user of Clubhouse, quoted as follows:

It’s like walking into a party where you know people are ready to mingle. Sure, you could be talking to people on the phone, but that just seems so weird. You’re not forced to be part of the conversation the entire time on Clubhouse. You can just listen to other people talking about interesting subjects and jump in when you want.

This also enables unplanned listening to interesting conversations. Baschez used the app to spend three to five hours a day on the job.

Like interactive live podcasts: Voicehub goes a similar way

With Voicehub, Tom Mayr and his team want to enable a new type of live entertainment called Live Groups. Here listeners can easily become moderators and participate in conversations themselves. It’s practically a very interactive type of podcast.

Voicehub has various hubs with several live groups, © Voicehub
Voicehub has various hubs with several live groups, © Voicehub

Mayr explains that the Live Group podcasts take place in individual communities called Voicehub Hubs. In hubs, users with the same interests can come together in one place and connect with one another through conversations. In addition, there is the option to record small audio snippets either during live groups or at any time to share further contributions in the form of mini podcasts within the hubs.

View of a specific hub, © Voicehub
View of a specific hub, © Voicehub

Voicehub would like to create a home for all subject areas if possible, whether for niche topics or large discourses.

Our biggest goal is that in the future everyone, no matter where he or she comes from and what they are interested in, can come to Voicehub and find other people to talk to or talk about,

so Mayr. Nevertheless, during the test phase, the focus is initially on very specific communities. Because Voicehub has to ask itself about its own added value.

Simply put, what problems can be solved by people talking to each other?

The BeforeThePodcast Hub is a concrete example. This community is about helping young podcasters or users who want to produce a podcast to get their podcast off to a good start. There are already some experienced podcasters in the community who share their experiences and learnings. Furthermore, Voicehub also has hubs for users who work as entrepreneurs or investors. It is all about connecting with others and exchanging experiences and listening to interesting conversations. A practice that is particularly important at conferences – but had to take a back seat in 2020.

What Voicehub wants to offer users, © Voicehub
What Voicehub wants to offer users, © Voicehub

What distinguishes Voicehub from other community platforms

On Voicehub it is not possible to join a hub and simply post the link to your website somewhere. That doesn’t sound particularly important at first, but it makes a big difference, explains Tom Mayr. Because on Voicehub it’s about building real relationships with other people and supporting each other by talking to each other.

Each of us has already joined a community and found that it is actually not a community at all, but that users only use this group to share links to their websites. You can only get on Voicehub if you actively build relationships with other users.

Overview of people in a live group. There is also the option of just listening, © Voicehub
Overview of people in a live group. There is also the option of just listening, © Voicehub

The success of the LinkedIn platform proves that the combination of social elements and business interests can be functional. There, private and business interests are increasingly blurring, while the voice message in Messenger is also gaining frequency. However, the currently good conditions and technical development status do not offer the app operators a guarantee of success.

The venture capital companies in the USA have already opted for Clubhouse. It is far from clear whether the app is only subject to hype or can establish itself in the long term as a relevant platform or as an everyday tool for communication. Since the digital landscape and especially the still poorly ordered audio field are exposed to constant change, audio chats or live podcast groups such as those at Clubhouse and Voicehub could become a real trend. However, it is important to convey a need, maybe even an intrinsic motivation for using these innovative apps. The Voicehubs beta test should provide the first important insights. The makers are definitely among the pioneers of a possible change in media usage behavior.

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