Tag Archives: Sounder

iHeartMedia Launches Podcast Brand Safety Tool Powered By Sounder

iHeartMedia, the largest audio media company in the U.S. and the top podcast publisher globally according to Podtrac, today launched new brand safety technology for podcast advertising powered by Sounder, an audio intelligence platform that builds foundational podcasting technology. iHeartMedia is the first to go live with Sounder’s AI and Machine Learning (ML) technology, giving brands episode-specific safety assurance, a level of precision previously unavailable in podcast inventory, at scale.

With the rapidly growing podcast advertising market expected to surpass $3 billion in 2023, there has never been a greater time to prioritize brand safety. Sounder is the first to help advertisers deem if a podcast episode is brand safe before an ad runs, enabling advertisers to plan and execute campaigns with confidence.

“Audio had been without a truly operative brand safety tool that gave advertisers the ability to run without risk at a national scale. The process was labor intensive, fragmented, and often failed to deliver the level of protection brands truly needed,” said iHeartMedia Chief Data Officer Brian Kaminsky. “This new tool changes the future and opens up endless possibilities. Brands are now able to opt out of content they deem unsafe and inappropriate. Our possibilities. Brands are now able to opt out of content they deem unsafe and inappropriate. Our partnership with Sounder has set a benchmark for transparency in transparency in audio advertising that has been long overdue.”

“At a time when brand-trust is eroding overall, marketers are excited about the power of the podcast advertising to deliver authenticity, impact, and rebuild trust,” said iHeartMedia Chief Marketing Officer Gayle Troberman. “With iHeartMedia’s new brand safety capabilities, marketers can leverage the full power of human connection and contextual relevance that podcasts provide, without the fear and risk of unsafe inventory.”

“Coming out of CES, marketer demand for podcast marketing is at an all-time high,” Troberman continued. “But they’re not willing to accept unnecessary risk to do so. This tool solves this challenge by providing objective, third-party brand safety verification and unlocking access to more content that moves the needle for marketers.”

With the tool, powered by Sounder’s technology, iHeartMedia can perform brand suitability analysis, topic analysis, content summarization, and dynamic segmentation, ahead of an ad flight. Integrated directly into iHeartMedia’s podcast hosting platform Omni and ad-serving platform Triton, the technology interprets context and assesses risk for brands in seconds across the iHeartPodcast Network’s large and growing audience, from the biggest and most divers shows in the network, to brand safety verification at an episodic level for podcast advertisers, effectively unlocking thousands of hours of new, premium audio content for brands.

“Sounder’s brand safety and sustainability solutions are here to ushers in the next stage of growth for podcasting and audio advertising. Our technology provides the transparency needed for confident decision-making and transacting across publishers, agencies, and ad tech partners,” said Sounder CEO and Co-Founder Kal Amin. “As a key partner and strategic investor in Sounder, iHeartMedia has recognized the need for new brand safety tools and standards across audio.”

The iHeartPodcast Network is home to more than 750 iHeartPodcasts which span every category from business, sports, spirituality, and technology to entertainment, family, comedy, and true crime including leading podcasts such as The Ron Burgundy Podcast, Paper Ghosts, Fake Doctors, Real Friends, Atlanta Monster, You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton, The Laverne Cox Show, Las Culturistas, and Noble Blood, as well as over a hundred shows from iHeartMedia’s on-air talent – like the popular Bobbycast from its nationally-syndicated host Bobby Bones and The Breakfast Club radio show podcast. With this roster of hits, iHeartMedia has more top 10 shows on Podtrac than the next three podcast networks combined and twice as many podcasts with 1 million monthly downloads than the next largest podcast publisher.

Urban One Inc. And Sounder Partner For AI/ML Research To Support Diverse Voices In Podcasting

Urban One Inc., the largest African-American owned and operated multi-media company, reaching over 80% of Black America, and Sounder, a contextual intelligence platform for audio, announced a partnership to conduct groundbreaking research. This research project aims to improve podcast ad technology to ensure equal monetization opportunities for all creators of audio content. The research will specifically address the industry’s generally limited brand safety technology capabilities for BIPOC audio content, with the goal of scaling new solutions that enable advertisers to sponsor BIPOC audio content at a higher rate and with greater confidence.

With this partnership, Sounder will work closely with Radio One and Reach Media, Urban One’s audio divisions, as well as the new Urban One Podcast Network, to analyze a variety of content from its catalog and create a report identifying strengths and challenges facing audio ad technology in classifying diverse media. The results will further inform and refine Sounder’s industry-leading brand safety and suitability solutions driven by AI/ML models, addressing these challenges and setting a new, fairer standard for the industry.

“As the leader in urban-formatted content, Urban One’s mission has always been to do our part in educating our partners, ourselves, our clients, and the broader industry on the evolving cultural landscape of Black America,” said Josh Rahmani, CRO, Urban One, Audio Division. “Through this work we hope to bring awareness of Black culture and its nuances to the industry at large and support an ecosystem of the diverse voices that drive mainstream culture.”

“Sounder was founded on the belief that we could help diverse voices connect with listeners who cared about what they had to say. We also believe that these voices should have had the same ability to monetize and fund their content,” said Kal Amin, co-founder and CEO of Sounder. “Yet suitability and brand safety can’t be optimized until technology catches up to culture and holistically supports a thriving, diverse world of audio content. Our mission to transform audio insights includes redefining the brand safety status quo with contextual intelligence tools to support diverse creators.”

Legacy brand safety and suitability technology across media types disproportionately flags and restricts diverse voices due to inaccurate classification and discriminatory blocklists. These blunt, all-or-nothing tools misrepresent and underprivilege Black content. Through this research, Urban One and Sounder aim to develop a more nuanced approach that will refine speech classification accuracy and sensitivity, delivering significantly better performance and restoring parity to content advertising.

Podcasting’s growth is accelerating. The number of regular listeners is set to top 160 million this year. Simultaneously, Black audiences are becoming more engaged, with the most recent Black Podcast Listener Report noting that leadership climbed 53% in the course of a single year. With the importance and influence of Black creators and consumers rising, research that supports parity is vital for continued growth.

Libsyn Supports Sounder Customers By Offering Complementary Hosting

Liberated Syndication Inc. (“Libsyn”), the leading ‘Podcasting As A Service’ platform, announced that it is offering all current customers with a podcast hosted on Sounder.fm to move to Libsyn at no cost for the first six months.

Sounder.fm recently announced that they will no longer be supporting Podcast Hosting and Advertising services. Sounder’s hosting platform will shut down on January 31, 2023, and all advertising solutions will stop operating on December 31, 2022.

“We are saddened to hear that Sounder has made the decision to depart the podcast hosting and advertising business,” said Rich Romano, Vice President of Marketing at Libsyn. “We would like to extend an invitation to all Sounder customers to come to Libsyn, for the first six months, at no costs. We will make the transition as seamless as possible for them – to have their hosting and advertising services up and running quickly.”

Sounder.fm customers with a current, active podcast can sign up for all Libsyn hosting packages up to and including $20, then contact Libsyn Customer Support at sounder@libsynsupport.com to receive a full credit.

Sounder.fm customers will be credited up to $20 a month for the first six months with Libsyn. Must move a current and active podcast on Sounder.fm to Libsyn to qualify for the offer.

BAM Strategy Names Sounder Its Market Intelligence Partner

BAM Strategy, a leading independent digital marketing agency with locations in Montreal and Brooklyn, today announced a new partnership with Sounder, an audio intelligence platform that builds powerful data solutions to unlock podcast monetization, brand safety, contextual targeting, and discoverability for audio content. Sounder will provide market intelligence tools and contextual insights to the agency, and they will leverage Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud to help BAM Strategy’s clients identify brand-safe, relevant audio placements for advertising campaigns.

BAM Strategy plans to integrate Sounder data and technology into its customer journey, media planning and contextual targeting strategies, providing greater insight and transparency to its clients across a wider range of content than previously possible.

“As audio evolves from a digital perspective, it has more intelligent ways for us to target, and Sounder’s technology is a key part of that,” said Adam Muscott, SVP of BAM Media. “We see ourselves as extensions of our brand clients, and want to help our brands find the most relevant, brand-safe and brand-suitable content in which to place their message. Sounder helps us find highly relevant podcast inventory we wouldn’t have known about or been able to target previously.”

Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud leverages proprietary speech recognition technology and powerful AI/ML models to provide auto-generated episode ratings, full transcripts, keywords, summaries, topics, and more across a vast catalog of content. This actionable data allows marketers to gain a deeper understanding of potentially relevant audio content to target. Sounder’s brand safety solution is based on both GARM and IAB industry standards.

“This partnership, our first with a leading advertising agency, creates a better outcome for marketers, audio publishers and listeners alike. By connecting with previously hard-to-discover content, we are opening up new opportunities for everyone involved,” said Sounder CEO and Co-founder Kal Amin. “We are proud to help power this new capability for BAM and its clients.”

Audiohook Names Sounder Its Brand Safety And Contextual Targeting Partner

Sounder, an audio intelligence platform that builds powerful data solutions to unlock podcast monetization, brand safety, contextual targeting, and discoverability for audio content, announced it will provide its automated brand safety technology and contextual insights to Audiohook, the leading demand-side platform (DSP) for audio advertising. Audiohook will leverage Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud and its best-in-class brand safety solution to ensure advertisers can confidently and transparently invest in the full range of audio content available through its DSP.

Audiohook plans to integrate Sounder data and technology into the full purchase lifecycle for audio campaigns, providing greater transparency to audio advertisers across a wider range of content than previously possible. Prior to the execution of an audio campaign, Audiohook will leverage Sounder data and technology to enable advertisers to set brand safety and contextual targeting parameters and they plan their audio buys. Post-campaign, Audiohook will incorporate Sounder’s brand safety verification and contextual data into the reporting available for advertisers to confirm that media delivered met the appropriate parameters and guidelines.

“To date, transcriptions only exist for the most popular podcasts, but not for the rest, which greatly limits the supply of brand-safe content for advertisers,” explained Jordan Bentley, Audiohook Founder and CEO. “Sounder’s ability to process and analyze the head as well as the long-tail of audio content for context, brand safety and other key parameters – even for content they’re not exclusively hosting – is a game-changer.”

Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud leverages proprietary speech recognition technology and powerful AI/ML models to enable large publishers to quickly gain access to auto-generated episode ratings, full transcripts, keywords, summaries, topics, and more across vast libraries of content. This actionable data allows publishers to maximize the value of their content catalog. Sounder’s brand safety solution supports the guidance outlined both by GARM and the IAB.

“Our partnership with Audiohook is another powerful signal that advertisers everywhere are looking for third-party brand safety verification and contextual targeting solutions, both for managed and programmatic buys,” said Sounder CEO and Co-founder Kal Amin. “We are proud to help make audio advertising accessible to every marketer seeking to engage a captivated and engaged audience.”

Global’s DAX Signs Sounder To Provide Automated Brand Safety Verification

Sounder, an audio intelligence platform that builds powerful data solutions to unlock podcast monetization, brand safety, contextual targeting, and discoverability for audio content, announced it will provide its automated brand safety technology to DAX, the pioneering advertising exchange created and operated by Global, the Media & Entertainment group.

Global will leverage Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud and its best-in-class brand safety solution to ensure advertisers in the US can confidently and transparently invest in the expansive catalog of diverse content on DAX which reaches more than 110 million listeners every month.

Sounder’s brand safety solution will enable advertisers to purchase media across DAX’s robust podcast portfolio, including shows from Breakbeat Media such as Top Billin’ With Bill Bellamy, all backed by the assurance that they adhere to brand safety guidelines, including those outlined by the IAB and GARM.

Global also plans to share Sounder’s brand safety information with its network of creators and their editorial teams to help them shape future content.

“We’re thrilled to be providing a trusted brand safety solution for DAX’s advertisers, helping unlock more inventory and increasing the value of DAX’s audio content,” Sounder CEO and Co-founder Kal Amin said. “With Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud, we’re integrating a layer of data that is crucial for advertisers to feel confident taking advantage of the world’s high level of engagement with podcasts.”

Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud leverage proprietary speech recognition technology and powerful AI/ML models to enable large publishers to quickly gain access to auto-generated episode ratings, full transcripts, keywords, summaries, topics, and more across vast libraries of content. This actionable data allows publishers to maximize the value of their content catalog.

“Advertisers want to make educated audience buying decisions about what content is right for their brand and their customer,”said Les Hollander, CEO of DAX US. “Sounder’s brand safety solution lets us provide this information automatically, transparently, and at scale across our entire catalog. Automated brand solutions are now at the forefront of verifying the suitability of content and making podcast audience buying easier.”

As part of this partnership, brand-safe podcast inventory on DAX will be made available to the programmatic marketplace including The Trade Desk, the leading demand-side platform (DSP) use by many Global and DAX clients.

“Brand safety controls are critical components that our advertising clients have waited for to ensure they can safely invest in the programmatic podcasting marketplace,” said Tomas Rodriguez, Director of Audio Inventory Partnership at The Trade Desk. “With this technology we will be able to bring a wide array of brand marketer demand into podcasting, resulting in a better experience for listeners and more revenue for content creators.”

Jam Street Media Joins Sounder Platform And Announces New Consulting Partnership

Jam Street Media, founded by Matty Staudt, former Vice President of Podcast Programming at iHeartRadio and Director of Content at Stitcher, which focuses on podcast production and consulting on podcast start-ups, is announcing its new partnership with Sounder. Sounder is an audio intelligence platform that builds powerful data solutions to unlock podcast monetization, brand safety, contextual targeting, and discoverability for audio content. Jam Street will use Sounder to accelerate the growth of its network and branded shows via its advanced transcription and automated promotional tools and monetize them with dynamic ad insertion.

Dan Dougherty, Co-Founder and Head of Revenue of Sounder, said, “We are so excited to welcome Jam Street Media to the Sounder platform. Matty and his team are expert storytellers, and we’re thrilled to have them grow their audience leveraging our powerful tools.”

“I have worked with just about every platform out there, and I have never seen anything to compare to what the team at Sounder has build,” added Matty Staudt. “They are also a great group of people who are passionate about what they are building. That is personally important to me.”

Jam Street has also signed deals to do creative/network structure consulting for Muddhouse Media, a growing podcast network founded by Kris Myer, an Emmy-nominated and award-winning producer who has worked for the past 20 years with the comedic duo The Farrelly Brothers, Bright Sided Podcasting, founded by Emmy-Nominated journalist Christine O’Donnell, The Bright Sighted Network is a podcasting network that shares stories about humanity that showcases the bright side of a bad situation and Story Studio Network, one of Canada’s fastest growing networks with a deep stable of experienced and award-winning broadcast journalists Founded by veteran radio broadcasters and father-daughter duo Dave and Erin Trafford.

“It’s truly an honor to help the talented people at these amazing networks grow, monetize, and get their quality content out to the world,” said Matty Staudt.

In addition, Jam Street will advise two start-ups, Stampede Social, the most comprehensive Instagram campaign performance tracker ever, and Audiolabs, allowing creators to distribute their audio content in podcasting, video apps, and social audio for maximum reach. They join current client OSSA Collective. A podcast advertising marketplace focused on connecting brands with female audiences. As an inclusive marketplace, they have a growing community of over 1500 women and non-binary podcast creators.

“I can’t believe that all of this has happened in the past two months,” Staudt said. “I think this shows that Jam Street is not like any other podcast company out there. Our years of experience in the space make us a go-to for podcast networks, creators, and start-ups to get counsel and direction as they navigate the podcast industry. I can’t wait to share what we are doing with our network soon!”

To learn more about Jam Street Media, visit www.jamstreetmedia.com.

Sounder Acquires Podnods

Sounder announced the acquisition of Podnods, a leading podcasting discovery and analytics technology. Podnods’ AI-driven technology will be incorporated into the Sounder platform, bringing state-of-the-art technology to creators and listeners worldwide. As part of this acquisition, Podnods Co-founder and CEO Mercan Topkara will become Sounder’s new CTO, leading the company’s new research and development hub in New York City.

“Sounder and Podnods started with the same mission: to help creators be heard. Audio has been deprived of true technological innovation for quite some time and by bringing our two companies together, we aim to deliver the next generation of audio technology, powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence, to fuel growth for creators everywhere,” said Kal Amin, Co-founder and CEO of Sounder. “We are thrilled to have Mercan join as our CTO, help us accelerate our operating plan, and lead our next phase of engineering innovation.”

Podnods has leveraged its propriety natural language processing (NLP) technology to process and index over 1.7 million of the world’s 2 million podcasts (and their episodes), generating an audio data graph of more than 3 billion data signals. By incorporating Podnods’ cross-podcast analytics with Sounder’s in-episode keyword-based analytical capabilities, Sounder will be able to create new taxonomies and personalize discovery and recommendations at an unprecedented scale.

In her new role at CTO, Ms. Topkara will lead Sounder’s global engineering department, and spearhead the growth of the company’s newly established research and development center in New York. Prior to cofounding Podnods, Ms. Topkara was VP of Data Products at Luminary media, as well as a Research Engineer at JW Player and a Research Scientist at IBM. She received her Ph.D in Computer Science from Perdue University. Sounder Co-founder and current CTO Goran Krgovic will assume the role of Chief Architect, reporting to Ms. Topkara.

“I’ve been a fan of Sounder from the beginning. Podnods solved discovery for podcast listeners, and Sounder did it for podcast creators — you need both to change the industry,” Ms. Topkara said. “Our complementary approaches to processing and indexing audio content will position us to improve both discovery and engagement dramatically.”

Sounder Raises $2.5M to Bring Monetization to Podcasters

Sounder, the industry’s first end-to-end podcast management and monetization platform built with and for creators, announced the completion of a $2.15M follow-on round for a total of approximately $4M of seed financing raised in the past 14 months.

The $2.15M raise was led by Ulu Ventures, and joined by new and existing investors including Newark Venture Partners and Xoogler.co, a community of Google alumni and current Google employee investors, and individual Spotify and Google executive angel investors.

“2020 was a very successful year for Sounder across product development, partnerships, and monetization,” said Kal Amin, Co-founder and CEO of Sounder. “This new round of funding will allow us to continue to solve problems creators face while innovating within the overall audio landscape. It will also allow us to bring our premium product, Sounder Plus, to market.”

The company will use the proceeds to continue its mission of powering an open and thriving audio ecosystem that supports independent creators, enterprise-level publishers and developers. With this funding, the company plans to further advance its proprietary search, speech-to-text and contextualization technologies as well as establish a new R&D center of excellence in New York.

“Sounder continues to demonstrate its value proposition for media channels and podcasters, enhancing discovery and monetization across the ecosystem,” said Miriam Rivera, Co-founder and Manager Director of Ulu Ventures.”Sounder’s technology will allow audio content to be searched and discovered in a streamlined and intuitive manner, which will help expand the total market as well as enable accelerated monetization growth.”

Sounders’s new monetization solutions have already yielded meaningful impact for creators, with certain pilot partners seeing an 80% – 130% increase in bid requests, and a $9 average CPM, which is more than 25% above industry average, in Q4 2020. 

“Sounder is developing the next frontier of a booming audio market by streamlining monetization and expanding discovery for podcasters. As the audio space continues to experience massive growth, Sounder’s platform will serve the needs of both content creators and audiences hungry for new material,” said Allison Williams, Principal at Newark Venture Partners. “We are proud of Sounder’s journey thus far, and we look forward to what the future holds for Cal, Dan and their team.”