Andy Lipset

SpokenLayer, which helps publications develop, distribute and monetize audio content for smart speakers, has recruited digital audio pioneer Andy Lipset as CEO. Lipset replaces founder Will Mayo, who shifts into a new role as Chief Strategy Officer.

The New York-based company helps media outlets adapt their content for audio and distribute and monetize it across Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and other voice platforms. Most of its media clients are publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Daily Beast, Politico, Chicago Tribune and publishing houses like Conde Nast and McClatchy. Among its financial backers are Beasley Media Group, Guardian Media Group Ventures, Betaworks, and North Base Media.

SpokenLayer partnered with iHeartRadio in 2017 to release human-read audio of articles from nearly 40 major publications onto iHeartMedia’s digital music, podcasting and live-streaming radio service.

Lipset has spent the past six year at Pandora, most recently overseeing sales for its region covering Boston to Florida, with annual revenues of $400 million. He is perhaps best known as co-founder and co-CEO of Ronning Lipset Radio, which is widely regarded as the first company to recognize the untapped opportunity of internet radio advertising. The online radio rep firm was purchased by TargetSpot in 2008, creating what was then the largest online radio ad network.

Lipset says the audio business is “the healthiest I have ever seen it” with the average consumer spending close to 4 hours a day with audio and ad demand at an all-time high. “The foundation that Will has built at SpokenLayer has the company perfectly positioned, and now we are going to build and scale the business even further to take advantage of the health of this ecosystem,” Lipset said in the announcement.

In his new role, Mayo will focus on the company’s future product vision and strategy and global partnerships. He’ll also serve as SpokenLayer’s key executive contact for strategic partners in distribution, media and agency holding companies, platforms and investment. "Today represents a pivotal moment for both me and the company as we scale to meet the market demand and growth, and build our capabilities for the next phase of SpokenLayer,” Mayo said. Handing the CEO baton over to Lipset “is not only a badge of pride for what we’ve built at SpokenLayer, but a statement on the potential and scale of the voice first audio market as a whole,” Mayo added.

As the voice assistant industry hits an inflection point with consumers and devices, Lipset will help the company “capture a large piece of the projected $20 billion spend in voice over the next few years,” SpokenLayer Board Chair Bob Bausmith said.