Have podcasters replaced your real friends?

Plus, our website has new pipes and a shiny coat of paint!

First, a shoutout to community member Suchita who authored the first comment we received after adding comments across our site! She left a note on the Tell Me More! episode on the Dubai World Trade Centre. You can get in on the action too, just enter your email and comment on the post for this newsletter

And while you're on our website, you'll notice we've replaced a few pipes, changed all the door handles, there's a new coat of paint and, yes, a dark mode too!

So, about us replacing your best friend...

Rachel Aroesti wrote an interesting piece in The Guardian last week, noting that the pandemic seems to have spurred podcast listening, going as far as replacing IRL friendships:

Some of my friends have no idea I even exist. These are people I know intimately, extensively, profoundly: I know what they had for dinner last night, the petty arguments they have at home, their obsessions, their insecurities, their fears, what time they wake up in the morning. No piece of minutiae is too minute, no idle thought too inconsequential, no detail too mundane: I want to hear it all.

Now, we know that the pandemic had an impact on podcast listeners; our annual report found that 55% of listeners increased their listening since March 2020. The lines between physical and digital friendships have been getting blurry for a few years anyway, and there might be more to it than being in lockdowns. As Rachel notes, she listens to a parenting podcast because none of her friends have children. "[W]hen nobody you know in real life shares your niche interest, some podcast somewhere will provide someone who does."

Do you agree?

Apple's Spatial Audio is out, Private Relay coming in September

During their developer conference last week, Apple unveiled features coming to the next iOS and macOS in September, and released Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos to Apple Music subscribers. The idea of 360-degree "surround" sound is intriguing to podcasters too, as there are opportunities to unlock some fun sound engineering on shows. Is this something you'd be interested in when listening to your favourite podcasts?

The other announcement that has set the industry abuzz is iCloud+ Private Relay, a new privacy service that encrypts and masks your browsing, so that websites you visit or trackers they run cannot build a specific digital profile. 

This is something we're thinking about too, from the data we need to the services we rely on, such as when we moved to a cookie-free analytics service earlier this year.

🎙️ Maha Maamoun: "The artist's box doesn't have to be small or exclusive" 

A few weeks ago, The Lighthouse opened their second location at the Mall of the Emirates. The new space features artwork from Maha Maamoun's Domestic Tourism series of images. You can hear all about Maha's inspiration, and how she brings those 'twists' into her work on the latest episode of The Lighthouse Conversations.

That's all we have for this edition of the members newsletter. If you know someone who might find reading this valuable, please do send it to them. 

Until next time, stay hydrated!