Racket is an exciting new social audio platform. Unlike other recently hyped real-time social audio apps such as Clubhouse, which Twitter copied with its Spaces product, Racket is a fresh take on podcasting. If you wanted to make an “X for Y” pitch for the product, you could call it Twitter for podcasting. Twitter is micro-blogging, and Racket is micro-casting. Every podcast episode, if you even want to call it that, on Racket has a limit of nine minutes. That makes them great to listen to during a short break. They don’t require the time commitment to listen to an hour-long podcast. Recording on Racket is an excellent exercise in bringing your message across in a world with short attention spans, as the medium forces you to be concise with your spoken word.
I have shared my thoughts about Racket and audio as a medium in my first solo recording and a conversation with my friend Clo. And that brings me to the second advantage of the platform. It makes recording podcasts with multiple people as easy as it can be. You can record directly on their website with the studio feature, and you can share the URL to that studio page with anyone. When they go to that page, and you approve them, you’re immediately connected. First, you can have an unrecorded conversation to get ready. Then, the studio owner hits the Record button, and the recording starts.
At the end of the recording, your podcast episode goes live immediately. If you recorded with two or more people, it appears on everyone’s profile. The latter feature improves discovery because people following just one of the participants can discover another person and their profile from this recording. It also solves the use case that some people have voiced about finding and listening to interviews with the same person on different podcasts. Of course, it works just within the walled garden that is Racket and not throughout the whole decentralized podcast ecosystem, but it’s a start.
Even though Racket takes out the complexity of recording conversations and interviews, you still have to schedule time for them. That’s where another appealing feature comes in: “Ask me anything”. Every Racket user has an AMA page where others can record a question for them. The user can then decide that they want to answer. Racket stitches question and answer together into one recording. Here’s my AMA page, and here’s the first question I received and the answer I’ve given. There’s also a related feature called “Volley” where multiple people can answer the same question, but I haven’t tried that and won’t comment on it.
My main concern with the platform right now is that I don’t see a business model yet. Will there be pre-roll ads or subscription fees? There’s no information yet, and a conversation I had with Stu from Racket wasn’t reassuring. I’m generally enthusiastic about new social media platforms (even centralized ones) because they stir things up and provide new means of expression outside the existing platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Without a sustainable business model, though, there’s always the chance that the company will get acquired (and listed on “Our Incredible Journey”), and their network ends up as a feature of a larger platform that boosts its dominant position that way. Although, to be fair, acquisitions happen even for companies that have found their product-market fit and are profitable, so that’s always a risk when you put time into a social network.