Listen To Earn & Bitcoin
The best companies create categories. They are able to identify new technology and apply it to solve large problems globally. These category creators are able to disrupt legacy companies, even if those legacy companies have significant scale, because the new technology allows for use cases that were previously unavailable.
Take Uber as an example. The ride-sharing company was not possible until the invention of the iPhone. It was necessary for both the rider and driver to have GPS-enabled devices on them so the two parties could effectively and efficiently find each other for pickup or drop-off. Could someone have tried to build Uber with Garmin GPS devices? Sure, but the average citizen was not going to walk around with a large brick GPS device in their pocket just in case they may need to hail a cab.
The iPhone created the foundation for Uber. The founders of Uber took that technology and applied it to the global problem of transportation. Billions of dollars in economic value followed.
Today I am announcing a new investment in Fountain — a podcast player that is using new technology to disrupt Apple and Spotify.
Apple Podcasts has long been the dominant podcast player because they were the default pre-installed podcast player on all Apple devices. The billions of devices that have been sold to customers created a significant distribution advantage for the podcast application. At one point, it was estimated that Apple Podcasts had more than 70% market share.
Spotify, which began as a music streaming service, realized that podcasts and music were both audio files. They tried to find an entry point into the market, which eventually led them to pursue an intellectual property strategy. As Spotify spent hundreds of millions of dollars on exclusive deals with The Joe Rogan Experience or Call Her Daddy, the company saw listeners increase and they began to steal market share from Apple.
In order for a new player to enter this market, you will have to do something different. This new entrant will have to use new technology, while pursuing a strategy that would be difficult for the incumbents to pursue due to the innovator’s dilemma.
This is exactly what Fountain is doing.
The team at Fountain has created a new category called “Listen-to-Earn.” Any mobile device user in the world can download the Fountain app and start listening to podcasts today. As you listen to your favorite podcast, you will earn money. Yes, read that again. Fountain has invented a way for people to get paid to listen to their favorite podcasts.
Here is how it works.
Fountain is using the bitcoin payment rails to allow for their users to receive economic value from podcasters or advertisers. When a user downloads Fountain, the mobile app creates a bitcoin Lightning wallet for them. The podcasts on the platform have a Lightning wallet enabled as well. Now that Fountain knows the wallet address of the podcast and the user, they can help to facilitate payments between these two parties.
I got excited about this because I understand the problem.
As someone with a large podcast, I spend a lot of time and effort to create great content. We would love for more people to discover the podcast and listen. I’ve experimented in the past with sharing ad revenue with the audience, but there is no good way to do it. Do listeners tweet at me and then I use Venmo to send them money? Do I have people leave a review in the app and then I email them for wire instructions? It is too cumbersome and not viable.
This is where Fountain comes in.
I can simply set a budget for every episode and the people who listen are paid a portion of that budget. The listener’s exact payout is determined by how long they listen to the episode. This not only gives me the ability to share in the economic success of the podcast with my audience, but it also ensures that the audience is listening to the entire podcast episode.
There is one catch to this whole approach though — Fountain did not create their own token.
The team at Fountain intimately understands bitcoin. They realized that there is no need for a new token. They can simply use the bitcoin payment rails to send economic value to anyone in the world. While a few dollars of bitcoin may not seem life-changing in the United States, this could replace someone’s salary in other parts of the world. And for US listeners, earning a few extra dollars of bitcoin every day for doing something you were already going to do is nice as well.
The time and attention we give to tech platforms is incredibly valuable. Every minute that you spend consuming content, creating content, or viewing ads, increases the value of the platform you’re using. Most free apps we use every day don’t recognize or reward this - but Fountain is different. Not only can you earn for listing to your favorite shows, you can also earn by creating clips, and commenting on episodes, which provides signal to Fountain to surface the best content.
There is always risk with early-stage startups. Maybe it will scale to global dominance or maybe it won’t. But the idea of taking this new technology (bitcoin payment rails) and applying it to the novel use case of content creators sharing their economic success is worth pursuing. Fountain has created a new category — “Listen-to-Earn.”
They are doing it with bitcoin. I am excited to see what is possible here. If you listen to podcasts, I highly suggest downloading the app and start earning free bitcoin today.
Hope each of you has a great day. I’ll talk to everyone tomorrow.
Dylan LeClair is the Senior Market Analyst at UTXO Management, a digital asset fund investing in the analog to digital transformation of money and the emergent financial system.
In this conversation, we discuss Bitcoin, on-chain metrics, the bond market, inflation, all of the leverage that has been liquidated in the Crypto market, and when we might see a bottom in this bear market.
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