60dB brings customized, short-form audio tales to iPhone and shortly, Echo


A brand new cellular utility known as 60dB, launching at the moment, desires to supply a greater, extra customized radio service targeted on short-form audio content material. The app contains information, sports activities, enterprise, leisure, comedy tales and extra, from a wide range of publishers, that are custom-made to your pursuits the extra you employ the service. A separate part for longer tales can be obtainable, for when you may have extra time to commit to listening.

Total, 60dB’s aim is to mix one of the best of what folks like about listening to the radio, by way of the content material, together with the personalization capabilities of a digital product.

The startup was co-founded by former NPR reporter Steve Henn and two longtime Netflix executives, Steve McLendon, who additionally labored at Vessel, and John Ciancutti, an early Netflix engineer who was answerable for the corporate’s first personalization software program and later went on to move product engineering.

As Henn stated in a weblog publish earlier this yr, he needed to create a radio service that works higher for listeners.

“My old radio — the one I grew up with — still doesn’t know anything about me. It doesn’t know what makes me turn it off, or flip the dial,” he defined.

“For a long time, I’ve had this nagging feeling that my old radio didn’t cover enough of the world. There are these big swaths of our culture —  big parts of the American experience, and of the global experience —  that my radio largely ignored,” Henn continued. “That’s not a knock on radio programming, or radio people; it’s a limitation of the medium itself.”

With 60dB, a product from his startup Tiny Storage Labs, the aim is to supply listeners the types of tales you care about, however with an even bigger deal with short-form content material. Podcasts, stated Henn, can usually be an hour or much more, which makes them tough to suit into your each day life.

That being stated, 60dB will embrace a bit with longer-form content material known as “In Depth.” Right here, you’ll discover longer tales, exhibits and podcasts. However the actual emphasis within the app is the “Quick Hits” part, which is a customized feed of tales you possibly can take heed to once you don’t have as a lot spare time.


The content material comes from a variety of publishers, together with Market, the BBC, ESPN, Late Evening with Seth Meyers, The Late Present with Stephen Colbert, Bloomberg and The Wall St. Journal. There are additionally unique quick audio tales being contributed by The Atlantic, Fusion, Mic, Vox, Motherboard Recode and The New York Instances. At launch, there are greater than 2 million tales obtainable.

As you hear, the app’s feed will refresh, so that you don’t need to spend time searching down new issues to take heed to when one program wraps. You can too skip the tales you don’t like, favourite these you do and share tales with associates. As you work together with the service, 60dB will be taught your pursuits with the intention to higher customise its feed for you going ahead.

Personalization is one thing a lot of at the moment’s music companies use as a aggressive benefit.

Pandora popularized the pattern for its streaming radio app with its thumbs up and thumbs down interactions, and now newer on-demand streaming companies like Apple Music and Spotify cater to their customers’ pursuits via custom-made playlists and suggestions, like Spotify’s standard Uncover Weekly playlist, for instance.


Nonetheless, in the case of discovering spoken phrase or podcast content material, the identical kind of personalization efforts don’t actually exist.

60dB additionally arrives at a time when shoppers are rising extra serious about listening to audio content material, together with podcasts in addition to short-form audio programming like Apple’s Spoken Editions or the brand new Amazon Prime perk, Audible Channels.

To some extent, this ties into the speedy adoption of latest voice computing platforms within the residence, like Amazon Alexa by way of the Echo speaker, for instance, or now, Google House. Because of these linked audio system, individuals are actively seeking extra audio content material they will eat whereas doing different duties, like cooking within the kitchen, family chores or simply enjoyable of their front room with household.

That’s why 60dB isn’t planning on limiting itself to cellular. Although it’s solely stay on iOS at the moment, the plan is to carry the app not solely to Android, but in addition Amazon Echo within the close to future.

The startup is backed by a small spherical of seed funding from angels and institutional traders, together with Khosla Ventures, Rivet Ventures and Bloomberg Beta.


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Désiré LeSage


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