Podcasts are great for helping people learn new things, connect to new subject matter, and access perspectives otherwise difficult to find. Yet not all podcasts are available to everyone. CastBox aims to change that.
Podcasts Were Not Always Easy To Find
Podcasts are supposedly easy to find. Just go onto Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud or any other number of apps and find your favorite topics from your phone, tablet or laptop. Yet what happens when your favorite podcast isn’t featured on your device’s native app store or podcast app? Or, perhaps your favorite podcast is only available in the language of the non-English speaking foreign country you may be traveling in (which you might not happen to speak). At this point, it becomes a matter of scarcity: do you risk settling for a diminished digital experience, or worse, diminishing the quality of your trip? Renee Wang was traveling in Japan when she realized her favorite trilingual podcast was no longer available on her podcast app. Unfortunately, the app she was using was the only one her podcast was available on. After being unable to find a solution on the internet, she decided to build her own.
Then Renee Wang Built CastBox
Renee and her co-founder Xiaocong He have built Castbox, a discovery app hailed as the Youtube of podcasts, an all-in-one solution to the problem of both having to hunt down disparate podcast channels, apps, and stations to find the podcasts you want. Replete with foreign language and multi-platform accessibility, as well as personalized recommendation features, CastBox is essentially a blockchain-enabled podcast aggregator that not only allows individuals to discover new podcasts tailored to their interests, but also allows other users to see what others are listening to on the app, and personalize their podcast recommendation and search preferences as such. One of the greatest ways Castbox adds value to users’ podcast experience is through its in-audio search feature: the app transcribes entire podcasts and then allows users to search for them based off of just one sentence or body of text within it, after which CastBox then shows their search result in addition to giving contextualized recommendations to similar podcasts. The app also includes audiobooks and on-demand radio to its list of offerings.
CastBox has so far completed four funding rounds for a total funding pool of about $30 million after their recent Series B, with IDG Capital, SIG Capital, Zhen Fund, and Qiming Ventures participating. The app’s success is credited to its blockchain-powered business model, improving content monetization for podcast hosts by connecting them directly to users through their open-source blockchain, and incentivizing creators to create and users to listen with CastBox’s ContentBox blockchain. Powered by its BOX token, ContentBox launched last week and enables CastBox to incentivize users and broadcasters with their BOX token, which can be exchanged for Ethereum and Bitcoin on Huobi Global. The platform’s incentivization feature enables broadcasters to improve their monetization, more widely diversifying podcast access by connecting users directly instead of making them rely on content distribution platforms like Youtube or Tidal. This allows creators and broadcasters to earn money directly from users, instead of earning less due to high distribution costs, as is the case now.
Successes and Obstacles
CastBox is rated a 4.7 out of 5 on the Google Play store and has been downloaded over 7 million times. And, while Apple Podcasts controls 60% of the podcast market, Castbox almost Google Play’s list of podcast apps off of the search term “podcast”, at #4. Castbox has come far but still needs to overcome a few key challenges, namely how best to improve user privacy alongside usability, scale packets per second to accelerate throughput–a widespread problem across blockchains and blockchain use cases–and create new business partnerships to improve revenue sharing and scale content offerings. If CastBox can overcome these challenges, it may come to top podcast lists across app marketplaces. Their top obstacle to market dominance will be Apple if this happens. Only time will tell whether their preparation and success thus far has primed them for that most supreme of challenges.
What do you think about CastBox using blockchain to open up podcasts across borders and language barriers? Post in the comments below and let us know!