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Research containing Loom
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CB Insights Intelligence Analysts have mentioned Loom in 2 CB Insights research briefs, most recently on Mar 10, 2021.
Loom has filed 7 patents.
Broadcast engineering, Video codecs, Container formats, Open formats, Video on demand services
Broadcast engineering, Video codecs, Container formats, Open formats, Video on demand services
Latest Loom News
Mar 30, 2022
PROTOCOL Email Address Workplace Thank you for signing up. Please check your inbox to verify your email. Email me an authentication link A login link has been emailed to you - please check your inbox. Nat Rubio-Licht is a Los Angeles-based news writer at Protocol. They graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in newspaper and online journalism in May 2020. Prior to joining the team, they worked at the Los Angeles Business Journal as a technology and aerospace reporter. Loom’s CEO on video messaging, company culture and authenticity at work. CEO Joe Thomas doesn’t necessarily want Loom to be a company’s main communication platform. Rather, he wants the new HQ to be a place of respite. Photo: Loom Lizzy Lawrence ( @LizzyLaw_ ) is a reporter at Protocol, covering tools and productivity in the workplace. She's a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied sociology and international studies. She served as editor in chief of The Michigan Daily, her school's independent newspaper. She's based in D.C., and can be reached at email@example.com. March 30, 2022 To be or not to be a platform? Loom, the asynchronous video tool, is facing the same identity crisis that so many apps before it have faced. Right now Loom thrives as a supplement to other communication platforms, for those moments when you need to record a quick video to send to another co-worker. But as remote work lingers, more and more people are Looming and it looks like a productivity hack that’s here to stay. Loom is the go-to tool for VCs making deals, and just look at all the other players who have entered the async video space . But what happens to all those Looms once you make and send them? The more Looms a company makes, the more a company needs an organized Loom library. Loom today launched a redesign of its website platform, Loom HQ. CEO Joe Thomas said he doesn’t necessarily want Loom to be a company’s main communication platform. Rather, he wants the new HQ to be a place of respite, where employees go to watch videos and connect with their co-workers. To do this, employees need to more easily access and search through Looms. The HQ’s updates include an algorithmic homepage with “trending” Looms, video indexing based on #tags and the ability to follow individual profiles. The new Loom HQ will roll out to customers over the next few weeks. Protocol spoke with Thomas about the new Loom HQ, how prerecorded videos can help build company culture and how to make recording your own videos feel natural. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. What’s new with Loom HQ? What will look different after today? Going back to the earliest days, we saw how much video was used in the consumer landscape. And it’s just not quite there at work. We have organizations that went from 1,000 videos prior to using Loom to over 200,000 videos because they’re using it to communicate on a day-to-day basis. How do we take that institutional knowledge that you built up and make it a really rich knowledge center for you? And then how do we also take that and then build and leverage a new tool set that has largely been proven in the consumer landscape and apply it to work? The job of Loom HQ is to make sure you get the information that you need in order to be more effective at your job. And so we built new organizational mechanisms. First, we had a folder structure. We now actually built a tagging structure because it's much more flexible and fluid and allows for more organic discovery and indexing of the knowledge. We built this concept of posting and then profiles. All of this feeds into a new home experience. So if you land on home, what sort of engagement is happening on the Loom? Who's viewing it? Who's emoji reacting? Who's commenting? Can we just show what moments are happening across your entire organization? So that way, in a remote and hybrid world, those organic cultural moments that maybe used to happen in the office or used to happen at off-sites or company dinners, you can still facilitate them in asynchronous remote ways. We built this home feed that has a trending algorithm, and it allows you to organically discover content that is important to the rest of the company. What is the key to building this kind of office camaraderie in an asynchronous context? In the earliest days of Loom, we were like, okay, video is incredibly powerful in the consumer landscape and humans gravitate towards that content. Which is why TikTok was the No. 1 site in the world last year, above Google. Video helps you feel something in a way that text doesn't. You open your email inbox, maybe you open whatever chat app you use, and you usually don't feel something like joy, or an energy transfer of somebody else's emotion. But video can do that. Image: Loom As more of Gen Z enters the workplace, will people want their enterprise communication to look more like video-based consumer apps? It’s less about what it looks like, and more about this draw towards authenticity. The younger generations want more authenticity in work communication. They don't care as much about being super polished. They want to empower themselves with freedom and flexibility, because it's been proven that we can do work that way. What is the most common way people react to Looms? Do people follow up on Loom itself? From a product strategy perspective, it has been one of the most important questions for us. Are we another inbox for people to check where there's an entire conversation that happens in Loom? Or is it that you record a video and then you distribute it through another channel? It’s very team and organizational dependent. For the vast majority of folks — and this is what we've always tried to build in our product — we make it an invisible window that sits on top of any app that you use to communicate, and then we give you a link that you can share anywhere. You should keep the conversation where it already exists. You can still leave comments. You can leave emoji reactions along the timeline. But we try and empower folks to leave the conversation where it's already at. So Loom HQ is trying to make it easier to keep track of all of your Looms, but it’s not trying to keep you in the product at all times. We're not trying to keep conversations in Loom. But there are windows throughout your day where you're like, hey, I could just use a shot of connection or a shot of inspiration. I'm actually open to discovering what's going on across the company. Then it creates these cultural moments. So I'll just give an internal example. A Loom that was trending in our workspace was somebody doing a plant tour of their apartment, and then the next person was like, oh, I'll do a plant tour of my apartment. And then the next thing you know, we have over 35 tours of plants around their home, and they got increasingly creative. We built a system that hopefully facilitates that connection, that camaraderie, that communication. I know Looms tend to be rather short. But are you thinking about segmenting them to make them easier to consume? We are in the very, very early days of video being purpose-built for work. We're a few years into: How do you unlock the full potential of the information that is available in one workspace? We need to make that infinitely easier for them. When we think about Loom HQ, like the internal branding that we had for it is an intelligent system of record. That intelligent component is automated insights and the most important components of the video, and then the system of record is the critical information set that your company currently has. The average length of a Loom is about 2.5 minutes. So they're relatively brief. But if you think about the hundreds or thousands of videos that are being communicated on a daily basis, you could imagine there being an automated, like, end-of-day wrap-up. (After the interview, Thomas sent a Loom to clarify whether the tool supports automated insights at this time. Not yet, he said. The Loom HQ home has an algorithm indicating which videos are important to people, but Loom isn’t yet going into individual videos and automatically highlighting important components.) Some might feel an implicit pressure to put more effort into their Loom videos. How does Loom work to balance ease and effort? Every time that we ask the community: As a power user, what’s your No. 1 recommendation for somebody who's just starting to use it? Never watch your own Loom. We’re our own hardest critics. We hate hearing our own voice. When you become a power user, you record once and you hit send, and that's it, right? You don't really think about it. We believe Loom delivers the most value to the world when you're using it to communicate two, three, eight times a day. You're not going back and watching your own three-minute Loom over and over again. That’s not the most efficient way to communicate. We’re trying to make it feel like, maybe you fell into this skill set of async video. We're not quite there yet, but I think that will ultimately be Loom’s biggest problem statement, but also biggest opportunity. How do you make more people more comfortable with async video faster? The video revolution at work is coming. It’s inevitable. Keep ReadingShow less Lizzy Lawrence ( @LizzyLaw_ ) is a reporter at Protocol, covering tools and productivity in the workplace. She's a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied sociology and international studies. She served as editor in chief of The Michigan Daily, her school's independent newspaper. She's based in D.C., and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. David Silverberg is a Toronto-based freelance journalist, editor and writing coach. He writes for The Washington Post, BBC News, Business Insider, The Toronto Star, New Scientist, Fodor's, and several alumni magazines. He also writes for brands such as 23andme, Shopify and Bold Commerce. He has served as editor of B2B News Network, Canada's only B2B news magazine, and Digital Journal, a leading pioneer in citizen journalism. Find more about him at www.davidsilverberg.ca March 21, 2022 When Samsung acquired Whisk , a smart food AI platform, in 2019, the nimble startup realized it had to ramp up its workforce quickly. Seeking to triple its employee base, Whisk, a fully remote team, sought diverse talent from a wide variety of regions through Upwork , a work marketplace that connects businesses with independent professionals and agencies around the globe. “With Upwork, we got access to a wider talent pool,” says Nick Holzherr, CEO of Whisk, “and we found specialized talent in food data that weren’t restricted by location.” Whisk isn’t alone in unlocking the global marketplace to find the right types of employees to support its business goals. More than three-quarters of U.S. companies have used remote freelancers, according to research from Upwork, and more than a quarter of businesses plan to go fully remote in the next five years. The shifting attitude toward remote and freelance work The pandemic seems to be the obvious instigator of the remote work boom , but February 2022 research from the Pew Research Center notes how U.S. workers are opting to work from home as a matter of choice rather than necessity: “Among those who have a workplace outside of their home, 61% say they are choosing not to go into their workplace, while 38% say they’re working from home because their workplace is closed or unavailable to them,” the Pew study writes. “Earlier in the pandemic, just the opposite was true: 64% said they were working from home because their office was closed, and 36% said they were choosing to work from home,” it went on to say. That hard lean into remote-powered and freelance work models is a natural progression companies such as Upwork have been tracking over the past decade. “We’ve seen how project managers got innovative in a tight labor market and already adopted remote freelancing long before the pandemic,” says Tim Sanders, VP of Client Strategy at Upwork. “And then we all learned since March 2020 how companies should lead based on outcome rather than based on employee attendance - a longstanding mindset of ‘management by walking around’. Managers have been focused less on aptitude and more on demonstrable skills, and that change in management style has made taking a look at on demand remote talent solutions a no-brainer.” In fact, Upwork’s enterprise clients mirror the talent joining its work marketplace ― each requires new methods to engage in deeply collaborative relationships that transcend location, and defy outdated definitions and boundaries traditionally separating freelance and full-time work and workers. Pointing to Upwork being one of the largest work marketplaces in the world with more than “10,000 skills available on the platform,” Sanders says their enterprise solution set “offers a great governance solution as budgets can be managed effectively and procurement can be handled, all within a centralized view.” Embracing and scaling a virtual talent bench Vetting workers efficiently is part of why businesses turn to Upwork, especially if they need to increase their talent pool quickly. For Whisk, that meant Upwork managing the key pillar of compliance under a large conglomerate like Samsung. “Upwork handled issues such as background checks and compliance with local laws, which is always critical to a company using independent talent,” says Holzherr. Sanders credits the company for folding existing talent into its working culture, along with new workers it brought in from Upwork. He says, “They opened up the window for Upwork talent to collaborate with them, and that egalitarian style in how they work with freelancers gives them so many new ideas and allows them to recognize patterns and see blind spots they otherwise might have missed.” Whisk hired independent workers from a range of regions, such as Serbia, Thailand and Montenegro. To cite one of many success stories, Whisk needed a food ontology expert to build a knowledge graph of foods, so it cast its net wider to look at potential team members overseas. They found a Product Development Engineer in Belgrade, Serbia, who was also seeking the right kind of freelance fit for her way of living. Ruzica Miladinovic, senior product manager at Whisk, says, “I wanted a role that connected my unique skill set and expertise with an interesting problem and the flexibility to remotely collaborate from my home in Serbia, while having the financial freedom to spend more time with friends and family. Not only has Whisk been great to work with for many years, but their remote-first and output-based work model aligns with the way that I’d like to construct my ideal career and lifestyle.” Talent access > talent acquisition A recent Upwork blog post from Upwork’s CEO points to what’s required for enterprise clients to shift their strategies and protocols to better leverage the benefits of freelance workers: “Businesses are realizing that to attract and partner with these professionals, they need new working models ― including leadership and management skills, and cultural and behavioral norms.” Asked to elaborate on what managers can do to finesse that transition successfully, Sanders replies, “First, organizations need to make the mental leap from talent acquisition to talent access. Leaders who think of talent as a resource that is accessed have a more open mind to flexible talent solutions. Second, leaders should treat independent workers as first-class citizens and not outsiders. That can lead to loyalty that’s needed to build a very strong virtual talent bench. And third, set up an approach to metrics to review business goals and find out how that independent talent is helping you accomplish those goals, so you can see across the company the value of your growing talent bench.” Work innovation and the freelance revolution are upon us, and it’s up to each business to figure out if they want to ride the crest of this rising wave, or if they want to remain on familiar shores from the outside looking in. Read more research on the shifts in work trends here . Keep ReadingShow less David Silverberg is a Toronto-based freelance journalist, editor and writing coach. He writes for The Washington Post, BBC News, Business Insider, The Toronto Star, New Scientist, Fodor's, and several alumni magazines. He also writes for brands such as 23andme, Shopify and Bold Commerce. He has served as editor of B2B News Network, Canada's only B2B news magazine, and Digital Journal, a leading pioneer in citizen journalism. Find more about him at www.davidsilverberg.ca As creators spread out, platforms are borrowing ideas and features from each other. Illustration: Getty Images Plus; Protocol March 30, 2022 Sarah Roach is a news writer at Protocol (@sarahroach_) and contributes to Source Code. She is a recent graduate of George Washington University, where she studied journalism and mass communication and criminal justice. She previously worked for two years as editor in chief of her school's independent newspaper, The GW Hatchet. March 30, 2022 Before the rise of TikTok, you could find Kris Collins on Vine. Collins posted for a while before the short-form video network was shut down in 2016. Then, four years later, she found a place on TikTok under the handle “ Kall Me Kris ,” which has amassed over 40 million followers and made her the most popular TikToker in Canada. But given Vine’s fate, Collins knew she couldn’t only create on one platform, so she branched out to YouTube and Twitch. “You never know what’s going to happen,” she said. “I am all about stability, and even doing this job, I think it took me 10 months and over 10 million followers to even quit my hairdressing job,” Collins told Protocol. “To be on one platform and to put all my eggs in one basket seemed a little irresponsible, at least for me.” The single-platform creator is dead, according to Jamie Byrne, YouTube’s senior director of Creative Partnerships. “If you went back two years … you were a YouTuber or you were on Musical.ly or you were an Instagrammer,” Byrne said in an interview with Hootsuite. “Today, it’s table stakes as a creator that you have to be multiplatform.” Collins said being on multiple platforms gives her greater financial stability, helps her avoid burnout and allows her to reach more audience demographics. As creators spread out, platforms are borrowing ideas and features from each other. Instagram and YouTube are following TikTok with their own short-form video clones; TikTok is trailing YouTube in introducing longer videos. Even Reddit and Pinterest are trying to appease users with their own tools. Sites are also offering monetary incentives — such as tip jars and “creator funds” — to keep social media stars from leaving the platforms and to attract new ones. Day in my Life But Collins said even though platforms are becoming more alike, each space serves a different purpose. On TikTok, Collins is an actress. On YouTube, she’s a vlogger. On Twitch, she can let loose and hang out with fans. And on Instagram, she’s just your everyday person. She said she’s had to organize her daily planner in order to accommodate the different platforms. “It's a little bit of organized chaos,” she said. “I have periods of time that I devote to coming up with the ideas. I have a TikTok column, I have a YouTube column, I have an Instagram column, I have a Twitch column. And then I write down, ‘OK, this is going to be the next five weeks of videos.’” Collins said she treats TikTok like a “sketch comedy” show, where she builds out and creates skits around various characters like “ Katrina ” and “ Chad .” She’s designed over 30 different characters so far, and she writes scripts around each of those people. “All my characters are my babies,” she said. “That’s what TikTok is to me.” Even though TikTok has been introducing longer video formats, Collins said she typically doesn’t post a video longer than a minute and 30 seconds to keep viewers engaged. She’s tried making videos between two to three minutes long, but her analytics showed that they weren’t being watched all the way through. “I don't see myself doing longer formats on TikTok at any point,” she said. “Otherwise, I would definitely burn out.” That’s because even a minute-long video can take up to four hours to create. “I’ve tried to focus on quality over quantity,” she said. Another reason Collins doesn’t need to start making longer videos on TikTok: She’s already on YouTube, where her account has garnered over 5.5 million subscribers. Collins said she uses the space in typical YouTube fashion, through vlogs , Q&As and unboxing and reaction videos. “People get to know me for me, rather than through a character that I've created on TikTok,” she said. @kallmekris What I imagine pt???? Collins said that unlike TikTok, she has an editor for her YouTube posts to help her focus on filming and writing scripts. And because her YouTube videos are typically 10 to 17 minutes long, she only posts about twice per week. She said she usually doesn’t repost her TikToks to her YouTube channel unless the video did particularly well, in which case she’ll post it as a Short . She uses Instagram Reels much the same way. While Collins primarily uses the platform to post photos of the behind-the-scenes parts of her life, she sometimes reposts her TikToks to Instagram as Reels because some people don't have access to TikTok in their country. Collins said she doesn’t take Instagram “too seriously.” “Instagram is a little less stressful,” she said. “I allow myself to recycle content there, and then just post fun photos.” Twitch, on the other hand, is like Collins’ online getaway. “Twitch is my escape from having to script or create anything, and I just get to play games and talk to my audience live,” she said. “[I] hang out with the people that keep me employed.” Collins said that while she enjoys livestreaming on TikTok, the platform takes a “heavy sum” — reportedly 50% — from Live Gifts , which is TikTok’s version of tip jars. Many creators, including Collins, opt to go live on Twitch or Instagram instead. Instagram doesn’t take a cut from its live gifting feature, Badges , and Twitch reportedly takes its cut from people buying the Bits, not from the creators. Twitch declined to comment on its revenue share. Now, Collins has about eight streams of revenue coming in from platforms, brand deals and merchandise sales. Collins said she manages her income through a platform called Able, which is designed for self-employed people to keep track of their finances. “It can get very disorganized, and really, really stressful as a self-employed person,” she said. “You get paid at different times and everything.” Adapting to and finding a place on different platforms as they change isn’t frustrating; in fact, TikTok creator Becca Bastos called it “exciting” because it helps her get more visibility. Bastos became a full-time creator last month, and she’s now in the process of creating her first YouTube channel. “The more people see it, the more opportunities you’ll get and the more it will reach,” she told Protocol. “For something that you work so hard writing, editing, posting and recording, you want as many people to see it as possible.” Keep ReadingShow less Sarah Roach is a news writer at Protocol (@sarahroach_) and contributes to Source Code. She is a recent graduate of George Washington University, where she studied journalism and mass communication and criminal justice. She previously worked for two years as editor in chief of her school's independent newspaper, The GW Hatchet. If you really want to understand where Spotify is going, forget the music and audio industry altogether. Image: Spotify March 30, 2022 Spotify doesn't want to just build a better way to listen to music. (Though, yes, it does want to do that.) The company has made clear over the last couple of years that its ambitions are much bigger: Spotify has invested deeply in podcasting both for creators and consumers, it has delved into the world of audiobook, it acquired a company to build a live-audio product and in general it wants to be the home of audio online. If you really want to understand where Spotify is going, though, forget the music and audio industry altogether. Look at what's happening with video online. YouTube is making video searchable, discoverable and wildly lucrative; TikTok is making it social, remixable and viral. Spotify wants to do all of that, but in your headphones instead of on your screen. And that means rethinking the way the entire audio business — and tech stack — works. Gustav Soderstrom, Spotify's chief R&D officer and chief product officer, leads a team of thousands building the future the company imagines. He joined the Source Code podcast to talk about why audio was skipped over in the evolution of technology, how Spotify is trying to balance supporting an open ecosystem with building its own stuff, and how audio changes when you treat it like software. (One thing he didn't want to talk about? Joe Rogan, and the questions the company faces about content moderation and misinformation. That's for another episode.) He also talked about Spotify's ongoing quest to figure out how to bring all that audio into a single app in a way that makes sense. You can hear our full conversation on the latest episode of the Source Code podcast , or by clicking on the player above. Below are excerpts from our conversation, edited for length and clarity. The first thing I want to talk about is something you said to me when we talked a year ago, which was that we kind of skipped past audio in the story of technology. That we went straight from text to photos to video and that audio kind of should have been in there in the middle. But we just jumped right past it. Why do you think that is? I'm not sure I know exactly why. One view you could have is that it's just been under-invested in, until maybe Spotify. But most of the other mediums, they also move very slowly. For example, text messaging was built around standards like SMS and MMS. And I think between the inception of the idea of adding pictures to a text message, and the MMS standard actually shipping and being implemented across all carriers of phones, is maybe 10 or 15 years. So sure, the formula existed and the innovation cycle was there, it was just very, very slow. A large part of that was probably because the innovation cycle was very broad, based on a decision between many players, where you eventually arrived at these lowest common denominator solutions. What happened to these other mediums is that for various reasons, at some point they kind of all became software. They got enveloped inside a single software stack, from end to end, from creator to consumer. And they started moving at the speed of software iteration, instead of the speed of standardization bodies. And obviously, podcasts came to exist through standardization. And it was and is a fantastic thing, because that's what brought it scale. Apple and iTunes did a lot of important work in creating that. But I think that once audio is inside a single software stack — and this is what we're trying to do — it can also start developing much faster than it has. The RSS standard was the only thing that existed for a very long time. But that was true for the others as well: There were standards around texts, there were standards around photos and video and so forth. And on that note, I think the RSS standard is a great thing. And this is the reason why we make sure to stay compatible with RSS. It is in our interest that our creators get as wide distribution as possible, because what is in our creators' interest is in our interest. So we tried to do that. But we try to walk this line where it should also get better. But it should get voluntarily better. If you want to use the features that only work in a fully software world, you can, but we're not forcing you to choose between the two. The other thing I've heard from a few folks is that the music business was just such a mess for such a long time. When I asked around, people were like, "Why would any VC in their right mind touch the music business in 2009?" And I think now, obviously, that is very different, and the industry works very differently. So things, in and out of Spotify, seem like they're moving much faster now. One way to talk about it is that the future is path-dependent, and history takes a certain path. And the music business took this one path, where there was no innovation for a long time because it was too profitable. And then piracy happened, and there was sort of nothing to lose. I think the reason that Spotify happened in Sweden and not in the U.S. was because Sweden was the worst hit. There were no revenues left to be had, so the music industry was prepared to take chances on new models. That wasn't really the case for podcasts. There wasn't a piracy crisis for podcasts. And the radio was doing just fine. Exactly. So I think it's different between different formats. You're right that music was a very specific case. And everyone advised against it, because there was just so much roadkill in music startups. Another thing that's also different from podcasts, obviously, is music is very centralized: A few big labels control all the catalogs or whatever you do. So whatever product development you do has to be negotiation-based. It's not like building useful software products, where you try something and see if it works. Before you even get to try it, you have to negotiate for years. And then it turns out it doesn't work! And so when you negotiate with three, four really strong parties, you're going to get this lowest common denominator of what very powerful organizations want. But podcasts don't have the same structure with a few labels that control everything; it's much more distributed. So for me as a software person, it was, frankly, very liberating to get to innovate similar to how a Twitter or Google would innovate, by trying things with a few creators and seeing if it works instead of first negotiating long contracts for years. So we actually move faster in podcasts than we do in music. So let's talk about podcasting a bit. I think we've come to understand how technology and music interact, with algorithmic and editorial personalization, things that Spotify has been talking about for a long time. But it feels like we're just at the beginning of all of that stuff with all the stuff that isn't music. And you've talked a lot over the last couple of years about starting to think about audio as software. Can you just explain what that means to you as you start to think about audio not just as an MP3 track but a piece of software? What does that look like to make that shift? When everything is wrapped in a single software stack, both the creator experience and the consumer experience, you can start treating it as a non-fixed format. You don't have to decide on exactly the feature set forevermore, right? Because you're not relying on an industry standard underneath. When everything is wrapped in a single software stack, both the creator experience and the consumer experience, you can start treating it as a non-fixed format. And so that means that you can do some of the things that I think seem obvious from other mediums. Like, why doesn't podcasting have comments? And now they do. As we've done video, for example, there was a standard around video and video podcasting already, but because it needed to be standardized, as a consumer you had to choose the video feed or the audio feed. You had to download the videos, consume a lot of bandwidth. When you're in the software world, it seems to make sense that you could add video dynamically; if it's in the foreground you stream video, if it's in the background we don't. So it turns from a fixed thing into quote-unquote "just code." And with code, you can do whatever you want. You can A/B test things, like you normally do in software, so you can learn and iterate much faster both as a company, but also as a creator. So you get all the benefits, I think, of something that is dynamic versus something that is fixed. And as an analogy, it's interesting that music is actually still very much fixed, because it's centrally created and distributed as a standard object to all DSPs. And also, music honestly hasn't moved that much as a format in the last 100 years. It's now stereo, but that's about it. That's where, like, Kanye's Stem player is super interesting, right? It's sort of the thing you're talking about: What if I take this thing, and I'm able to break it into its component parts and then reorganize it or remix it or do different things rather than just saying, "Here is the file." Is that a decent comp for what you're talking about? I think that's exactly what I mean. I think it's super exciting. I'm so glad that Kanye is trying this. The problem for him is that in order to get to participate and try this, you literally have to buy a different player. Because you can't distribute the stuff he's trying through the existing system, because it's standards-based. It's not software based. So I think you see the exact same creator need from Kanye, for example, wanting to innovate. Why should music be the only format that doesn't ever get better? It just seems unreasonable. And I think it's for structural reasons. Why should music be the only format that doesn't ever get better? Help me understand what you gain in having control over the audio file. Because I think that the debate has always been, there's this open RSS-based system that's very useful. And it just puts out a feed and everybody can access it. And there's an open ecosystem that's very good! The downside of it is you're just handed an MP3 file with a bunch of crappy metadata, and that's all you can do with it. But we're also getting better at speech-to-text, there's AI software that can turn a song into its various stems relatively successfully. So what do you gain by actually having control over the whole end-to-end process, as opposed to just being handed this high-fidelity MP3 file and having to figure out what to do with it? So you can imagine all kinds of things. In music, you just mentioned what Kanye is doing, which you could let people work with the music and re-create it and so forth. And that's a combination of a technical problem — you can't do that in the MP3 format, you would need the stems — but it's also very much a business model problem. That derivative work, who owns that? Who gets paid for it? But someday, someone is going to solve that. I hope it's us. On the podcast side, it's different, because you don't have the same structure that you have to pre-negotiate everything. You can actually work with individual creators and try stuff, and some creators want to use them and others don't. For example, we can add video dynamically so the user doesn't have to choose. We can change the bitrate dynamically, depending on your bandwidth, which the MP3 also doesn't allow. We can do advertising that is much more effective for the creator because it can be real-time and targeted, instead of burnt-in. Which, you know, in video was a step change for creators in how they can monetize. You can also work on expanding the show notes concept, where creators would like a lot more functionality than the RSS show notes allow for. I personally think that paid podcasting will continue to grow and become a big thing, too. That's another thing you can take from almost all other mediums: There's a huge chunk of free text, there's a huge chunk of paid text, a huge chunk of free video, huge chunk of paid video. We started investing in supporting paid audio some time ago, both through something called Spotify Open Access Platform but also if you're an Anchor creator, you can add paid podcasts. People already hacked RSS to do that with something called Private RSS, where you gave up private links that you promised not to share, because they were personal to you. And so you saw the creator need, and you saw the user need, and people tried to hack the standard to make it work. When it's all software, we can let you have your free episodes and then the paid episode after that in the same feed, you don't need to subscribe to something new. We can let creators play around with business models: Do they want to charge a subscription? Do they want to charge per episode a la carte? Because it's just software, we can theoretically do anything. That's a pretty convincing case for why it makes sense to try and bring all of this stuff in house. But there's also real upside to this decentralized, standardized podcasting system. To your messaging example, it's objectively true that all of these systems are better than SMS, right? It also sucks that there's 50 systems. I have 50 inboxes. The way that we message is both way better, and fundamentally broken. And there's a world in which, if we let audio and podcasting fragment the same way, it could be the same sort of thing: There are 10 great apps, but I have to use 10 apps. How do you strike that balance? Is there a balance there? I think there is, and you're completely right. I think text messaging is a great example: If you use iMessage, you get a richer experience, but they've struck the balance where I can still message with my Android friends. In this case, I think Apple realized that the value of the service is relative to the number of the people you can communicate with, and so you need to keep that as big as possible. And that's exactly how we think about podcasts as well. The value for the creator is the amount of listeners you can get, right? So we try to maximize that. Then, I think we feel that it's fair for us to try to make our experience as good as possible. And if the creator wants to voluntarily add these features, because they think it brings value — whether they get more statistics or they could get user feedback — then I think that's fair and great. But what we don't want to do is to force them to choose between the two. And this goes for, for everything we do, actually. I mean, we've been pretty public about the fact that we think that platforms should be more open. So we kind of have to live up to that as well. We've been pretty public about the fact that we think that platforms should be more open. So we kind of have to live up to that as well. On the discovery side, I think the listener experience of podcasts has never been as good as it should be. And it seems like a big part of improving that would be starting to understand the actual content of shows — the same way we're getting good at understanding, like, "This what kind of guitar lick this is, and this is what this singer sounds like, and if I like these kinds of drums, I probably like these kinds of drums." Podcasting so far has not been nearly as sophisticated in helping people understand what I like and why and what else I might like as a result. How are we doing on the road towards that? Is that even the road that we're on? It's definitely the road that we're on. I would agree with you that we're not there yet, and it should be much, much better than it is. This is something that someone like me would always say, but I do think we're on the cusp of getting to a very different experience for podcasts as well. And I think there are a few ways to think about it. One is, if you look at music before, before streaming, the discovery problem was basically the same, right? Most people followed artists, and they consumed music in albums. And a lot of people still do. But what happened was, once you have this flat-rate access to music, you could start putting together sessions of these objects along new dimensions. And that was a massive boon for discovery: People started doing all kinds of things for music. Sleep music playlists, stuff that you would never do at 99 cents per three minutes. So all of that innovation happened. And I think you will see the same thing in podcasts. People are very much subscribing to hosts that they listen to, and personalities. And I think they will always continue doing that. And I think it's a good thing. But I think if you look at something like YouTube or Netflix, you see where I think the future should be: that you have these shows that you love and follow, but you also get recommendations for individual episodes, or even parts of an episode, from something similar. As I said before, I think you can look at the other mediums as sort of a cheat sheet for where audio is going. So that requires exactly what you said, an understanding of the audio. And we do this, obviously, through a lot of machine learning. There are these large language models like transformers that are getting very good at understanding the contents of a podcast. They're also understanding the sentiments, they're understanding the hosts, they're even starting to be able to summarize podcasts. For podcasts that don't have show notes, you can generate them. There are other technologies that we're looking at, like graph neural networks, which are looking at not the podcast but the audience type for podcasts, and inferring. So there are many technologies that are getting very powerful. I think the problem now is actually the discovery format itself. Because the big difference between podcasts and music is that you had these three-minute objects you could stack after each other into a good session. You don't really have those objects in podcasts, the objects are like an hour. That's not a great discovery format. So I think one of the tricks is to understand how you either summarize the podcast or pick up part of the podcast, and then how do you program it? What's the format of discovering this? I think the understanding is there. It's actually the discovery consumption format that isn't there yet. So that's something that we're working really hard on. I can't share exactly yet exactly how we're doing it. But I think that's the key now. My great frustration with Spotify as an app is sometimes there's just too much going on all in one place. I've gone back and forth a million times about whether it feels like a good idea to have my audiobooks and my podcasts and my music all together. I don't imagine ever wanting to do all three of those things in sequence. Then you throw live in, which feels like yet another thing. I buy the logic of them being one app, just because people don't download apps. And it's hard to get people to download new apps and try new things. But they could just be a bunch of totally separate experiences inside the Spotify app, Snapchat-style, where you have different panes for different things. But you seem to be trying to figure out a way for them all to live together. Why? It's a great question. And there's two answers. One is, as you mentioned, it is hard to get people to install applications, if you want the innovations that we do to reach lots of people and to be successful. Integrating them is a benefit. But that's kind of a Spotify distribution benefit. The question is, what's the benefit for the consumer? And what we saw when people started hacking the system and uploading podcasts, and also uploading audiobooks as music, was that we saw people voluntarily using them. That's when we said, maybe there is convenience here. So we took on this sort of contrarian view, at least at the time, which is: What if the user interface could adapt to the content, instead of the user having to switch apps for the content? It's certainly much harder as a design challenge. The risk is obvious: It's just confusing. It's not the best of two worlds, it's the worst of two worlds. So we took on the harder challenge, because it was exciting for us, our user data told us it was interesting and it was also the strategy that made sense for us to do. And if it couldn't pull it off, obviously, people wouldn't want to use it. So we would fail. And with the data we have, statistically, it looks like it's working, because we're growing fast. However, we're far from the perfect place where we want to be. I think we've come pretty far in being able to adapt between music and podcasts, so that it feels like you're listening to podcasts, you get the right controls and so forth. And all these weird cases: like you have a queue of music, but then you queue a podcast, what happens? All those take an insane amount of time. And actually, you see other companies are starting to follow. You see on YouTube, when you listen to certain types of content, you get scrub controls instead of skipping the full episode. So I think others are following us in having the app adapt to the content instead of the user having to switch apps for different types of content. So I think we're on the right track. If you're Apple, maybe you think differently about it, because you can pre-install your app. So you don't have a distribution challenge, right? But we don't have that luxury. The other thing I would say is that if you can actually integrate them, there is a lot of content that has music and talk. And obviously, the big problem is for most podcasters, they can't legally put music in their podcast, because they would need to build a music service and license it all. So there's an obvious but in reality really complicated thing that we built with this music and talk format, which I think was a clear innovation on podcasts. So there you have something that couldn't be done if it was separate apps. And you could have some argument around video as well: Should video be a separate app? But it seems like most podcasters want to be able to go between the video and the audio. So that doesn't make sense to have a set as a separate app either. So it's a combination of strategies. But I think a strategy that goes against what users want is just going to be a failed strategy. Keep ReadingShow less
Loom Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When was Loom founded?
Loom was founded in 2016.
Where is Loom's headquarters?
Loom's headquarters is located at 20 Market St, San Francisco.
What is Loom's latest funding round?
Loom's latest funding round is Acquired.
How much did Loom raise?
Loom raised a total of $1.42M.
Who are the investors of Loom?
Investors of Loom include Dropbox, Google Ventures, Tencent Holdings, Overbrook Entertainment, Great Oaks Venture Capital and 4 more.
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