Audio is all the rage. Twitter has the Spaces oven, Clubhouse has been a success (although it is still only on iOS) and Stereo seeks to bring the creation of podcasts and social gatherings in real time to the whole world through an app. All these applications have something in common: people with like interests who meet around a topic and interlocutors who share their opinion with listeners who, in turn, can participate in the chat.
Basically, they are the complete opposite of the basic operation of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and even podcasts, where communication is one-way and global: the user speaks on the air and his message falls into a sack along with millions and millions of messages, publications, photos, videos, etc., waiting for the rest of the users, who do exactly the same, to read and interact. Perhaps that is what Nat Cortazar, director of Stereo Spain, refers to when he states in an interview conducted by the Xataka technology portal that "the term social networks is obsolete."
The sense of community
To give us an idea of how the paradigm of social networks has evolved, we can look at Twitch. What makes Twitch different from YouTube? Community. It is not a platform to which you upload a video and expect people to see it, but rather it allows you to broadcast in real time, create a community around a person and interact with the audience in real time. In fact, if you look at the most popular content creators, what they do is broadcast on Twitch and then upload clips of the live to YouTube. On one platform you see it live, on another you see it because you've missed it.
Ultimately, the world of social media is moving towards that, making platforms two-way and communal. Stereo points exactly in that direction. Not only is it a listener-friendly platform to use, but anyone can be a creator. Not everyone is cut out to get in front of a camera on Twitch, Instagram or TikTok, but maybe they are encouraged to do an audio chat to talk about what they consider.
As Cortázar explains, “the idea is that anyone with a mobile phone and a medium Internet connection can express their ideas, always respecting everyone”, in reference to the community guides that prevail in Stereo. It is not necessary to set up a gaming setup with lights, DSLR cameras and a 1 Gbps Internet connection, but anyone with a mobile phone can start a live audio streaming and talk to and with their friends about what they want.
Ultimately, you can have a real conversation, "something that doesn't happen much nowadays", as Austen Allred, co-founder of Lambda School, put it. Everything is said, it is true that the idea of Stereo is not new. Twitter has been working and testing Spaces for some time, which are voice rooms in which to talk about certain topics in an open way, without trolls or toxic people who contribute zero to the discussion on the table. Somehow, in Stereo, Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces the noise that is so often present in online conversations is eliminated.
How does Stereo monetize?
How is Stereo monetized? There is a weekly competition and a user ranking. The more listeners, the higher the number you receive. The total prize amounts to 100.000 euros and a broadcast that exceeds 15.000 listeners can aspire to 10.000 euros. That is the maximum, but in the lower part of the ranking there are countless prizes of 100 euros for users with fewer listeners. The premise is simple: if you create an interesting conversation, you will attract listeners and, the more listeners, the more money you hope to earn.
That money is transferred to the user's account, or Banco Stereo, as it is called in the app, and can be withdrawn when it exceeds 10 euros. It takes five to seven business days for the money to reach the user's account. However, in the policy of this weekly competition it is established that only those users who are of legal age, reside in the United Kingdom or the United States, do the program in English and do not broadcast Stereo's content on another platform can participate simultaneously.
In conclusion, what the success of applications such as Clubhouse or Stereo confirm is the paradigm shift that little by little has become more evident: community search. Social networks seek to be more and more intimate, closer, and allow the user not only to express their opinion on a topic to the world, but also to converse in a bidirectional way, generate community, promote healthy conversation and, incidentally, monetize their audience In a direct way.