It’s been in development for the past few months, and today, Twitter has launched its new integrated podcasts display in the Spaces tab, which will now be renamed its ‘Audio’ tab instead.
As you can see in this image, the new Audio tab will highlight podcasts and Spaces content (pre-recorded and live) within one display, with broadcasts separated into specific topics – or ‘Stations’ as Twitter is calling them.
That could help to improve Spaces discovery, by aligning them with already established podcasts, while also better enabling Twitter to categorize the audio feed, so that you’re not just seeing a slew of random Spaces broadcasts in the tab.
As explained by Twitter:
“The new Stations in the Spaces tab will make it easy to listen on the go and multitask while listening to your favorite conversations - be it Spaces or podcasts. Once you visit the Spaces Tab, you will see three sections: on the top, you will see Stations, which scroll horizontally and will feature a variety of themes and Topics to listen to (like News, Movies & TV, Music, etc.). Below that, you will see Spaces spotlight, listing some of the top curated broadcasts. And last, you will see a list of upcoming Spaces so you can plan accordingly if you want to attend those live.”
The idea here being that the expanded selection will improve Spaces discovery, which has been a key problem for the platform – because while giving everyone the opportunity to conduct their own audio broadcasts in the app is an added benefit, the downside is that a lot of those streams will end up being low quality.
If you tap over to the Spaces tab, and all that you see are broadcasts on topics that you’re not interested in, eventually you’ll stop checking in, which is why this integration makes a lot of sense, in terms of boosting key Spaces discussions within more contextual parameters.
Twitter also says that its audio content display in the tab will learn your listening prefereces:
“Stations are designed to incorporate your interests and the more you use them, the more accurate they become. Each Station is unique and curated for you; if you like what you hear, give it a thumbs up. If you don’t, give it a thumbs down. They will feature a playlist of live and recorded Spaces, as well as podcasts.”
That does, of course, also mean that Twitter will have to manually curate Spaces broadcasts into the right categories, as there’s no way to automatically tag them into relevant topic sections. But Twitter has been working on this too, with tags for Spaces to help filter them based on topics.
“Our internal research indicates that 45% of people who use Twitter in the US also listen to podcasts monthly, so we’ll automatically suggest compelling podcasts to help people easily find and listen to the topics they want to hear more about. For example, if someone regularly interacts with Vox content on Twitter, they’ll probably see a Vox podcast in a Spaces hub.”
The updated display also better aligns with Twitter’s real-time engagement approach, with Twitter, in its own words, being ‘the home of breaking news and updates’.
“Fans love to see when their favorite podcasts are launching a new season, going on tour, or endorsing a fellow podcast for their next listen. Up-and-coming and established podcasters alike are using Twitter to help expand and inform their audience.”
Indeed, Twitter has established itself as the leader in real-time engagement around major media events – but capitalizing on such has proven challenging for the app.
For years, Twitter has tried to incorporate real-time discussion and events into a single stream, via experiments with live TV broadcasts.
Those tests have never really paid off, but by bringing podcasts together into a single stream, along with related tweet discussion, that could be another way to tap into a more comprehensive real-time content approach, that better enables broadcasters to build community, making Twitter a more important tool in their efforts.
So it could benefit both emerging broadcasters in the app, along with established podcasts.
But really, it’s Spaces that Twitter wants to amplify, and this could end up being the thing that helps take Twitter Spaces to the next level, and helps creators connect with a bigger audience in the app.
If people end up using Twitter as a podcast platform.
There’s fairly clear, connective logic here – as Twitter notes, 45% of people who use Twitter also listen to podcasts – but how that plays out in reality remains to be seen.
But it seems like a solid addition, which could eventually make Spaces a bigger consideration, for creators and marketers.
The updated Audio tab is now being tested with a select group of users globally on iOS and Android.