Spoon Radio Now Aims at USA Market, Wants To Be TikTok of Radio


“When I stood in front of investors for the first time with a business proposal called personal radio broadcasting, they said that I’m going backwards in time. But now Spoon Radio has grown into a service with 2.2 million active users every month from all over the world. ” Choi Hyeok-jae, CEO of Spoon Radio.

Recently 41 Spoon Radio representatives met at the headquarters pointing to a performance graph of the vertical rise of Spoon Radio. The app which is described as called the ‘YouTube for Audio,’ broke 15 million cumulative downloads last year.

It is 58 times that of 2016 (260,000 times). Spoon Radio currently has 250,000 individual DJs (spinners) who offer radio broadcasts on the topic of daily conversations and counseling. Over 100,000 audio content is uploaded every day. Choi said, “With the exception of podcasts conducted by experts, the world’s largest audio service comes from private DJs.”

What is the secret of popularity? CEO Choi said, “The strategy is targeting teenagers in their 20s who have never even encountered how radio works.” More than 70% of Spoon Radio users are ‘millennials’ aged 18-24. There is a perception that radio is for the older generation.

Choi, a graduate of the information and communication department at Sunmoon University, started his business in 2013 as a developer in the smartphone business of LG Electronics. At the time, smartphones were all beginning to pick up, but they launched a service that delivers a fully charged battery in real time to those in need. However, the business closed in 2015 as most smartphone batteries were built-in. Choi said, “It wasn’t enough to come out with a stable large company, so I had a debt of about 500 million won.

But the crisis was a decisive factor in launching Spoon Radio. Choi said, “It was hard enough to want to die after failing in the first business, but it was hard for me to show my family or acquaintances.”

“What about the business of comforting strangers online?”

Choi immediately presented social media service dedicated to audio with the slogan ‘a spoonful of warm comfort’.

“I and my company employees just envisioned” anonymous audio chat, “and some of the members showed regular radio broadcasts,” he said. “Watching their demand for radio content explode, we grow our business with today’s personal radio broadcasts. “

Spoonradio’s payment system is simple. Listeners can purchase paid ‘sponsored stickers’ and sponsor them to their favorite DJs. There is also a broadcast function sticker that allows you to like 10 times with a single click. Spoonradio takes a 10-15% commission on the stickers that DJs receive. Spoonradio’s data show that last year, 48.4 billion won worth of paid items (broadcast function, sponsorship stickers) were sold. That’s more than double that of the previous year. Some popular DJs earn more than 100 million won a month with sponsored stickers and hold huge fan meetings. YouTubers with millions of subscribers are popular.

“It is true that the radio market is smaller than the video market,” Choi said. Spoon Radio entered Japan, the Middle East, and the United States, starting with Indonesia and Vietnam in 2017. In the Japanese market, it ranks first among all audio live apps .

In recognition of such competitiveness, Spoon Radio attracted 45 billion won in investment from KB Investment in December last year, and was recognized for the company value of about 300 billion won. Choi said, “This year, like China’s” Tik-Tok, “I want to create a sensation among American teenagers.”