By Anna Lardinois, Startup Storyteller
Mwanje Thompson is looking to amplify the voices, and fill the bank accounts, of BIPOC podcasters.
Thompson created Audio Mogul Media in 2020. The podcast network focuses on providing a platform for content creators who may not have the equipment or technical skill to produce their own podcasts.
What sets Audio Moguls Media apart from other podcasting networks is not just that the company offers a 50-50 revenue sharing model, but also that the pay creators receive is in Web 3.0 currency, like NTFs, bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies.
Today, the network hosts six podcasts, and the list is growing.
Thompson’s interest in audio engineering began in high school when he started creating recordings for his musician friends. By the time he entered college, he had a recording studio in his dorm closet and his room was the go-to destination for on-campus recording.
Eventually, he decided to turn this passion into a business.
“When I got into the podcast space, I didn’t see too many people that look like me or my cohosts, who are women,” he said. “Here in Milwaukee, despite what you want to say about the statistics here and there, the podcast space is really diverse. I’ve started to see a lot of faces that look like me have started to come to the podcast world.”
“In Milwaukee, I can go to certain shows. I can go on their platforms. They understand what I’m talking about. They can come on ours and they understand what we’re talking about. But even in the traditional media space, there are very few black and brown spaces out there. Now you’re starting to see a little bit more,” he said.
“But a lot of people wanted to get into the space and just didn’t know how to do it,” Thompson continued. “They were typically Black and Brown voices that just didn’t have the resources, didn’t have the access. Me, having this equipment, and building this equipment up for the past seven years now, I was able to give them an opportunity, to give them a voice.”
Thompson’s portable studio is everywhere his podcast creators need him to be. A favorite location for recording is the podcast lounge at Ambition Center MKE.
To offer more opportunities to the podcasters in his network, Thompson turned to cryptocurrency.
“This concept is not just a gimmick, it’s more of an opportunity for the listener to invest in the podcast itself. It’s almost as if we were doing our own Patreon. The listener can buy the NFT. As the show grows, the NFT grows. If they (the listener) want to sell the NFT, they could sell it. If they want to pass it down to their family or friends, they could do that. But with that NFT, not only are you getting this digital imprint, but you’re also getting actual rewards with it as well,” he explained.
“With the podcast of the live show, you get front row opportunities. You get discounts on merch, you get a shout out,” he said. “You get so many different things that will entice you to want to buy it and you will feel like a part of the show.”
“As the NFT grows, and you grow along with the show, there could be lifelong benefits that go along with it…We use the Web 3.0 technology to make the experience for podcasting a little different and create another opportunity of revenue,” he said.
Thompson is a solopreneur who has bootstrapped Audio Moguls Media, but he hopes that changes soon.
Audio Moguls Media is a finalist in the Next Challenge for Media & Journalism, in the Power Platform division of the competition. This prize is awarded to awarded to a “technology startup developing powerful ways for media content to be shared across the country and around the globe.” A win will come with the cash needed to create an app that will allow listeners and creators to conduct transactions using cryptocurrency.
To learn more about Audio Moguls Media, connect with them here.