We all know that podcasts are hot. Even Steven Spielberg is snapping up fiction podcasts to turn into TV series. But if you believe it’s a’gonna be easy, well, you might consider taking a second and much more careful look.
How China’s biggest audio platform funded one man’s frat boy dreams
by Ashley Carman
Imagine you’re a podcaster who’s been recording your show at CBS Radio, a venerable, if not unglamorous spot. One day, you’re instead offered the chance to start recording in a Beverly Hills home. The house has a pool, free food for the talent — that means you! — and the space to host blowout events. You know what you’d choose, and you know what podcaster Norm Steele chose: the Hollywood life.
When Steele walked into the HiStudios hype house for the first time, he found an oasis, one you wouldn’t expect to come with the territory of being a podcaster. Even the biggest podcaster in the world, Joe Rogan, records in a studio resembling an underground bunker. But here, alongside two studios equipped with hardware and support staff, was a vast view of Los Angeles and the cachet that comes with it.
“It was the professional element,” Steele says when asked why he chose to work with HiStudios, a company spun out of the buzzy podcasting startup Himalaya. “Basically, me having shows that are on the verge of being something great, they had a purpose there. It was a nice place.”
YOU’RE THE STAR AT THE PODCASTING HYPE HOUSE
Peter Vincer, the man behind the hype house and the CEO of HiStudios, gave me a lofty spiel ahead of the company’s launch in August 2019. He envisioned a global podcast network with influencers and athletes and shows that would become international hits. He name-dropped Mike Tyson, Penny Hardaway, and Zane and Heath, and he said the company had a deal with Studio71, which works with top YouTubers like Marques Brownlee. Vincer and his team would help launch their shows not just in the US, but in China, too, thanks to HiStudios’ ties to Himalaya, a US podcasting startup funded by the massive Chinese audio company Ximalaya. (Yes, it’s just a one letter difference and very confusing.)….