Colony FM

Read with your ears. Anytime. Anywhere.

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Kat ManalacHunter@katmanalac · Partner, Y Combinator
Colony FM turns any webpage into audio narrated by real people. I've been wanting something like this to exist for a long time for my commute.
Michael SuenMaker@michaeljsuen1 · Co-Founder of Colony FM
@katmanalac Thanks for the hunt Kat!!
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Cool! How does this compare to something like Pocket Listen and Instapaper where both allow you to listen to saved articles?
Michael SuenMaker@michaeljsuen1 · Co-Founder of Colony FM
@bentossell Hey Ben! The main difference here is that we have real people doing the reading. Yes it's not instantaneous like those services, but the quality is absolutely night and day, in our opinion :)
Daniel Erickson@techwraith · Director of Engineering – Eaze
Can I hook this up to my Pocket queue and request readings? There are some really good flows that you could do: Single article flow: 1) Connect Pocket and list articles 2) Select an article to have recorded 3) See a queue of recorded articles 4) Play an article 5) Mark it as read (and optionally recommend through pocket) Commuter/Work flow: 1) Connect Pocket 2) Input the amount of time you have to listen to articles (e.g. 20 minutes for commute, 1 hour for work) 3) Automatically select a combination of articles from the queue to fill the allotted time. 4) Listen to the recordings as a playlist 5) Mark each article as read when you've listened to it 6) Allow user to optionally recommend each article as they listen (or just after) Just some suggested features - this would get me to use the service, and I'd be willing to pay more than most monthly subscriptions for these.
Michael SuenMaker@michaeljsuen1 · Co-Founder of Colony FM
@techwraith That's a wonderful suggestion! Unfortunately we are not ready for that yet :-p but this is definitely something we will keep in mind! Thank you!
Daniel F Lopes@danflopes · I help build better products @Whitesmith
Does anyone know what's their business model? Having real people narrating it's awesome, but it seems costly. :)
Michael SuenMaker@michaeljsuen1 · Co-Founder of Colony FM
@danflopes Not as costly as you would think ;-) At the moment, we're just building out content and a narrating base. We're looking into subscriptions in the future, but people who've signed up with us already will be grandfathered in :D
Michael SuenMaker@michaeljsuen1 · Co-Founder of Colony FM
Hi Product Hunt! I’m a co-founder of We initially built Colony FM because we wanted to be able to listen to articles while on-the-go. We made a decision early on to have real people reading the articles, and things got off to a good start! As people began using it, we realized that a lot of people came to us with requests for pieces and webpages that didn’t always make our curation list, so we decided to build a product that emphasized this power more! The Colony FM you see here gives everyone the power to curate and request their own playlists for listening-later. The way we see it as is a service with the one-click save functionality of Pocket/Instapaper, but with the result being a listen-later experience instead of reading-later. We’re still building out and adding to our team of voice actors, but we’d love to get your feedback and answer any questions you may have. Best, Michael
Chris Messina@chrismessina · Product designer & entrepreneur
@michaeljsuen1 I've really missed @tokuku's Umano ever since Dropbox acquired them. It'd be great to see this full in their shoes! I noticed that the onboarding flow isn't mobile friendly. Any plans to do a native app or integrate into podcasting apps like Overcast?
Michael SuenMaker@michaeljsuen1 · Co-Founder of Colony FM
@chrismessina @tokuku Hey Chris! One of Umano's co-founders (Anton) is actually our main advisor, so it's awesome that you mentioned them! There is a mobile app ( which hopefully addresses the mobile friendliness issue you brought up!
Jeff Solomon@sollytweet · Founder @Velocify @Amplify @Aftyco
@michaeljsuen1 @chrismessina @tokuku I was an early investor in Umano and loved the product very much and liked Ian and the team, but they dumped a lot of money into that business and very much struggled to build a sustainable model. And they were choosing the content you could listen too, whereas I can request anything from your service. Although that is quite attractive (just requested a @paulgraham essay I haven't read yet) and interested to see whether you do all that is requested or reject some for this or that reason. I'm sure Anton has shared some of the content licensing challenges with you around charging for audio versions of content they don't own -- but i'm sure you've cracked that nut already. Sucked that Dropbox shut the service dow and the team couldn't find someone to take over what they built, and man, they built a huge stack there over the 3 or so years. I suggested to them to try the pay to record model, personally, if the price was good, I would pay to have things read. There was another company that did this, Voicebunny i think, but it was outrageously expensive. My thought was then you could say the owner of the content is actually the person that paid for it but you could then you could let it be shared under their profile in the app or website or something and if you were contacted by the content owner you might be able to claim UGC and just remove it upon request. Anyway, good luck. I used Umano every day, it was awesome.
Michael SuenMaker@michaeljsuen1 · Co-Founder of Colony FM
@sollytweet @chrismessina @tokuku @paulgraham Jeff, thank you for your honest and insightful feedback. We did talk to Anton about some of this, but it's great hearing your experience on this. I'm really happy to see from your comment and the comments of many others that people have a real need for something like this, and we are going to work very hard to make sure we learn and improve moving forward! Thanks again, Jeff!