Showbiz Cheat Sheet chatted with Audra Gold, co-founder and CEO of Vurbl. Here’s what she had to say about her new venture and how it will change the entertainment industry.
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: What did you do before founding Vurbl? What was your career journey like?
Audra Gold: For the last 20 years, I have worked with early stage startups building digital products that bring game-changing ideas to life that have grown into large tech companies, mostly on the B2C side.
Before creating Vurbl, I founded a product management consulting firm focused on helping early stage companies go to market. I also ran product for Pluto.tv, The Mighty, Rubicon Project, Break Media, Fourthwall Studios/Nantworks, and held senior product management positions at several other LA and San Francisco-based technology companies.
CS: What is Vurbl and how does it work?
AG: Vurbl is an audio platform for people who create audio of all types and for listeners who love to be entertained and engaged by the audio medium. Enjoy audio from hundreds of categories, thousands of playlists, and millions of audio files all in one place for free. We are democratizing the audio format, welcoming all types in one place, from audiobooks to podcasts, to speeches and education to comedy and meditation.
If it’s good audio content, you’ll find it on our platform, along with some user-generated audio as well. As an added bonus, we also have Vurbl Expert curators making playlists around subjects and themes that we see people looking for on Google and elsewhere. We are making publishing, consuming and monetizing audio content easier and more turnkey than has ever been done.
We are the first of our kind in the United States–a singular destination where anyone can publish or listen to any type of audio content in the world, all in one place. You can also easily clip it up (our provisionally patented invention), playlist it, and share it in ways that no other platform has ever offered. We are providing free audio content to anyone who has access to the internet. We are providing ways to monetize audio content that no one has ever offered.
CS: What inspired you to form Vurbl?
AG: The majority of our team has spent a lot of time building and growing video platforms, video ad products, and video content. We saw the evolution of video from the early 2000s to now and know all the things that had to happen to make video what it is today.
We noticed that audio has not made the same steps in evolving to fit into the internet ecosystem of today, and we know how to fix that. We want to bring all audio content together in one place, make it easy to find and consume content that is meaningful to you, and allow creators of all types of audio to build a business around their content.
What better model is there for this than the YouTube model, where creators can upload anything, find an audience, qualify for ad revenue share, and proliferate as an influencer? We are now providing audio creators with that same opportunity: a chance to make a lot of money from their audio content while helping them continuously provide their audience with an interesting stream of audio content they create or curate into playlists.
CS: How do you think Vurbl will impact the media industry?
AG: On the business side, we are cracking open the RTB open market audio programmatic space in a way that has never been done before. This will open up massive opportunities on the audio ad buy side, and we believe it will bring more audio ad spend from traditional radio in the digital space, just like programmatic video has continued to gain more of the traditional TV ad dollars.
On the consumer side, with all listeners in the same place, audio will have ample opportunity to go viral in the way that a YouTube video does. We believe Vurbl will become the most important place on the internet to discover up-and-coming audio talent.
You won’t need to produce a podcast to create audio content, just say something funny or interesting and upload it to Vurbl, make a funny audio meme, or go crazy and produce a rich scripted show. If it’s engaging content, it will find a following on Vurbl.
CS: What advice would you give to aspiring CEOs?
AG: First, have an unending amount of passion for what you do. Then, know your domain of expertise better than anyone you have ever encountered. Be tough as nails and have an intense persistence and work ethic. Surround yourself with the same type of people from your trusted network.
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