Social commerce led with content creators has gained acceptance in India, and even major brands are leveraging this trend for their digital marketing. To reach the masses, such brands are foraying into the regional languages for their campaigns. Thus, giving content creators an opportunity to earn through their talent and interests. Arré, a digital content brand is also proving an audio-based platform for women creators to become the influencers and then the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. We had the opportunity to interact with Niyati Merchant, Co-Founder and COO, Arré and Vimal Kumar, Product Head, Arré Voice, who shared insights on the audio-app and how it will help the women in this digital age.
Here’s the excerpt from the interaction:
What made you foray into the voice-based app industry?
Voice is not only the most authentic, but also the most human and simple way to express and consume. It is also appearance agnostic and therefore lends itself to a low-pressure medium of inviting any and every woman who has a smartphone on the app. We have also attempted to make the entire creation process much simpler compared to any other format or medium, thereby democratizing the opportunity and the playing field which will not only include our time on social media but also our hands-free time while driving, walking or doing daily chores. With audio, we hope to go deep and wide into the world of existing and potential creators with the lowest possible creation costs (as compared to video).
What, according to you, is the benefit of voice-first social media apps? How do they benefit women in the digital age?
Arré Voice is India’s first voice app for women (and those who identify as woman). Voice is appearance agnostic lending itself to anyone who wants to be a creator in the simplest and quickest way possible. Our app has used the idiom of a 30 second Voicepod – raw or edited, depending on how women would like to present themselves. A smartphone and one’s own voice are all that are required. We offer the resources necessary to make creating and listening smooth, including a creative studio with options for background music, voice filters, editing, and other features. These are always evolving based on real-time feedback from the female app designers. There are countless vocal productions that flourish in a supportive environment, ranging from poetry and music to self-help, language instruction, storytelling, and even the sharing of private and intimate experiences in the areas of mental wellness, relationships, child-rearing, and other issues. The “explore option” allows users to research a variety of globally popular topics. Its capacity to provide production opportunities in recorded, gamified, live, and live-group formats, known as jampods, where women may gather to converse or listen in can also be considered one of its unique selling points.
How have Social Media apps changed the concept of content creation and change in behaviour of consumers’ choice of content?
The easy creation process offered by social media platforms whether it is Instagram for images and video, or Twitter for the 140-character tweet has made it very accessible for anyone with talent and a point of view to create content for public viewing. This opens up a large supply of content, creators and talent that previously had no avenues to express themselves. Consumers are now spoilt for choice when it comes to entertainment – from long form premium content offered by OTT platforms to short format content that is more user generated which we scroll through, throughout the day. This is now fueling a whole new creator economy which started off as a side hustle for many creators but now has become the primary source of income, through various revenue streams from advertising to branded content to tipping and even social commerce. Arré Voice aims to tap into exactly this tailwind with a unique opportunity we have identified in catering to women in a voice-first approach.
What technological aspects make the Arré Voice App different from other Social Media platforms that have also introduced “voice-first” aspects of content, like Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse?
Unlike Clubhouse/Twitter spaces, Arré Voice allows for users to asynchronously record and publish for their fans, with the option to go live. We allow creators to supplement their 30 Second Voicepod with images and videos to aid their conversation. Our creation tools are designed to make the experience very quick and easy. It takes anywhere between 90 to 120 seconds to create a 30 Second Voicepod which is the shortest possible creation time when compared with any other short format video apps. Fun & friction free creation sits at the core of how we imagined & built our creation tools. While users record their content, the tools also help them add fun and quirky background & voice filters aimed at making the whole creation process enjoyable. In the near future, we are looking at adding more nuances to engagement tools for fans, live tools for creators, community tools for audience cohorts to build organic discovery and engagement on the app.
Are there any Audio Compression measures in the app?
Yes, we do audio compression for voicepods recorded and uploaded by our users. Our audio compression focuses on making the creation process fast and optimized storage.
Is there any technology in place to maximize/maintain audio quality?
Yes, that is part of our upcoming product release. It will include cool features that help reduce surround noise, enhance and normalize voice levels among other improvements.
Does your site use AI and ML to improve its recommendation channels for the users?
Our recommendation systems currently deploy ML intervention and focuses mainly on enabling discovery of new content and users to engage and make quick decisions on the communities they want to deeply engage with in the future. Our future recommendation tools will focus more on the marriage of right content to the users as we scale to more users and content which will include new ways of content serving through mood detection, language customization etc.
How safe are the Privacy settings of the app? What options of privacy are made available to users?
Safety is paramount for us since we are a women’s -first app. We have taken an invite approach to begin with where the inviter’s name is displayed on the invitee’s profile. So, the first level of filtering happens there while also sharing the safety responsibility with the first community we bring on the app. Additionally, our on-boarding involves users to scan their face as they create their account and we do not store the image of the users anywhere on the app. This is just to ensure the identity of the user and not allow for bot accounts to be created. Also, users have been provided the option to post a voicepod publicly, privately (their followers) or only accessible to ‘women’. Our product is designed so that anything that is tagged as private, or women only cannot be shared outside the app. In the case of content, we ensure that content is fully encrypted at both during transfer and storage. Additionally, every content piece can be reported by a user and our algorithms immediately suppresses the content from further discovery until it is manually reviewed and cleared by our compliance team.
We also understand that improving privacy and safety is an ever-evolving aspect of our product and we will learn and iterate as we go along. We hope to hugely rely on the community of women on the app to be the gatekeepers of the constitution they write.
What measures are taken for user data privacy on the app?
We are building tools that allow for users to lock their profile, their content and their activity on the app. Our community tools are imagined giving ultimate powers to the community moderators and we are working with select offline community leaders across multiple topics as a first feedback loop as we build them. Users also will be given an option to create private groups to exchange content within that segment, block & unblock users and deactivate their profile.
Additionally, our user data is fully encrypted both during transit and on storage. Our live user content recordings get stored on our systems for 180 days and get purged immediately after that. This is to ensure for assessing any user violations of content & community guidelines.
Users can report any content and users on the app, and we have SOPs in place to ensure we cover almost all sorts of user reports and solutions.