Clammr Aims to Be an Instagram for Audio, Draw Listeners to Podcasts

Xconomy Boston — 

Social media has made it incredibly easy to share short pieces of content in nearly every form. There’s Twitter and Facebook for text. Images have Instagram and Pinterest. Video has Vine.

But what about audio?

That’s what newcomer Clammr aspires to be—the go-to way to share bite-sized audio clips from your favorite podcasts and streaming talk and music radio programs.

The origins of Clammr go back 12 years, when co-founders Parviz Parvizi and David Silverman were classmates at Yale Law School. “We pretty quickly discovered that we were incredibly slow readers, probably the slowest readers in the history of Yale Law School,” Parvizi says with a laugh, as we chat at a coffee shop in Cambridge, MA.

Parvizi and Silverman like consuming information in audio form, but sharing their favorite audio files has always been “clunky,” Parvizi says. “Dave said one day, ‘why can’t we tweet this audio at each other? Why can’t we share great moments directly?’”

Clammr allows content producers—podcasters, news outlets, comedians, musicians, and other publishers—and their listeners to easily create clips (24 seconds or less) of longer programs and share them via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and more. The social media posts link back to the full program.

Parvizi and Silverman started Clammr in September 2014 with Oren Goldfinger and Ken Ito. (The latter three are based in Los Angeles.) Parvizi says they have raised about $1 million from a group of angel investors, led by Jeff Karish, a former Yahoo exec who later ran Windsor Media, which has invested in the likes of Square and Vice.

Early testing over the summer found that Clammr’s audio snippets led to double-digit increases in the number of people who clicked through and listened to the full program, Parvizi says.

“That’s what publishers love,” Parvizi says—Clammr could help them reach new fans. In the podcast industry, “there’s big winners like ‘Serial’ and ‘This American Life,’ but a lot of them struggle with discovery,” he adds.

It could also be a good way to engage with an audience in between programs, say by posting short teasers, Parvizi says.

Audio highlights can be created through Clammr widgets or social media buttons embedded on content producers’ websites, or users can browse audio on Clammr’s app.

Among the app’s features: users can listen to a sort of curated playlist of audio clips, either swiping to the next one or clicking through to listen to the full thing; before sharing a clip, they can record and attach a quick intro explaining to friends what they loved about it; and they can create their own mash-ups of audio clips.

Of course, Clammr still has to prove that there’s a big enough demand for its product, and that it can build a viable business. But the company will get its shot—it already has partnerships with some of the largest podcast platforms and radio networks, such as PodcastOne, Midroll, Libsyn, Blubrry, and Westwood One. Its partners publish more than 85,000 podcasts, the company says.

Clammr isn’t generating revenue yet, and it’s still determining its business model, Parvizi says. Some options include advertising or promoted audio clips. The mindset right now is “let’s add value to the community and then figure out the monetization,” he says.

Below are two examples of “clammrs.” The first is a series of audio summaries of some of my recent stories, which were created by the Clammr team for this article. The second is a reel of clips from NPR’s Planet Money podcast.