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Sounder, the podcast management platform built with a focus on search, has just marked its first anniversary — and what a year it has been. In early March, just as the U.S. was beginning to lock down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sounder announced it had raised $1.8 million in seed financing. CEO Kal Amin says candidly, “In hindsight, we may not have picked this past year to launch a new company.” In a blog post, he said 2020 has brought a string of challenges, including the pandemic, unsettling political events, and social justice movements. “Despite the macro challenges, starting Sounder this year has been a blessing,” said Amin. “We amplified voices from around the world — in 50 languages, no less — with something to say about these important issues.”

The Sounder Discovery Suite moved out of beta at the end of June, and with a workforce that has grown from three at launch to more than two dozen today, Amin said Sounder has so far signed more than 20,000 creators. And one year in he has concluded there is not a “silver bullet solution” to discovery. “It’s a combination of art and science, dedication and perseverance. It requires a concerted effort to leverage all available tools to find and grow an audience,” said Amin. “The lack of discovery is a real challenge for creators of all sizes. New and seasoned podcasters alike lack the tools to grow and develop audiences.”

Amin also thinks audio advertising needs a “revolution rather than an evolution,” saying current ad models don’t support every creator and advertiser seeing a “massive gap” between the largest podcasts and the smallest. He also says analytics need to catch up, saying Sounder learned a lot about how outdated podcast metrics are during the past year.

“Overall, it’s very apparent that the audio/podcasting industry is still in its early days,” said Amin. “Creators need solutions to help them manage their content, grow their audience, track their success, and make money doing what they love. To that end, we’re proud of the progress Sounder has made in pushing the industry forward.”