Spotify fans in Brazil love a good scripted audio story, as evidenced by the popularity of series like Sofia, Batman Despertar, and Paciente 63—Portuguese-language adaptations of the AI-themed drama Sandra, the superhero smash hit Batman Unburied, and the Chilean sci-fi thriller Caso 63, respectively. Paciente 63 even spent three weeks as the country’s most popular podcast on Spotify.
And starting today, listeners will be able to dig into a new Spotify Original audio series: França e o Labirinto. The Portuguese-language thriller is our biggest fiction-based audio production in Brazil to date, and the first Spotify audio series to be fully produced in the country.
França e o Labirinto follows private detective Nelson França on a thrill ride as he attempts to solve a murder that feels all too familiar. For years, Nelson helped the police on investigations, including the one that led to the arrest of a famous serial killer. Now, decades later, a new victim is found and França knows it’s the same criminal. This chase will send him down a trail filled with ghosts from his past. And that trail is even harder to navigate when you’re legally blind.
Over the course of the show’s 13 episodes, Nelson’s sense of hearing is vital to helping him solve this mystery. And to immerse listeners deeper into França’s perspective, França e o Labirinto is the first Spotify Original audio series to deliver lifelike 3D audio through binaural recording techniques, which use two microphones separated by the width of a head to replicate the way our hearing works in real life.
Created in partnership with Jovem Nerd, the Brazilian media platform known for its popular podcast NerdCast, França e o Labirinto features Jovem Nerd founders Alexandre Ottoni and Deive Pazos as showrunners, and actor Selton Mello as the voice of Nelson.
To learn more about the show’s creation, as well as the rising popularity of scripted audio series across Brazil, For the Record spoke with Camila Justo, Spotify Production Operations Lead for Latin America.
França e o Labirinto is the first Spotify Original audio series to be fully produced in Brazil. It’s an exciting achievement!
Being able to produce 100% Brazilian content is an incredible opportunity to explore our identity and culture in an authentic way. Brazilians love fiction content, and França e o Labirinto is a very high-quality thriller.
The production was a long process that involved more than 100 people between the technical team and the voice actors. We understood that what we were doing was something innovative, and we went through the different stages always focusing on quality.
What sort of success have you seen with fiction podcasts in Brazil to date?
Brazil is a country that consumes a lot of soap operas and series, so fictional content is already part of Brazilian culture. This gave us some indication that adapting fictional podcasts could be a big success. But listener engagement in Brazil went even further. Sofia, Batman Despertar, and Paciente 63 were all among the top podcasts on Spotify following their respective releases, and are still in the top 10 of Brazil’s most popular scripted audio series on Spotify to date. In addition, Paciente 63 won the APCA Award for Best Podcast of 2021.
Why is it important for countries to have innovative stories tailored to their audiences?
Innovating stories and initiatives for audiences in your country and language helps create a deeper connection, a greater identification between the story and the listener. This increases relatability, understanding, and engagement, leading to more meaningful experiences and stronger connections between creators and their audiences.
This new podcast uses binaural audio technology to allow the listener to be immersed in the main character’s perspective. How will this sound different for listeners?
3D audio technology has the capacity to deliver a seamless illusion of alternative reality and change the way we relate to and behave in sound. This resource helps in the construction of immersive narratives, enhancing the experience for the listener.
Since we wanted the listener to be totally immersed in the main character, this was the best way to provide that experience. The listener will hear and feel everything that the main character feels—if someone whispers in his ear, they will whisper in your ear.
What was the scripting process like?
The script was developed by Leonel Caldela and Fábio Yabu, and also included consultation and revision by Lucas Radaelli, a visually impaired person who gave valuable input, since the main character is blind.
Work on the script started in 2018, when Jovem Nerd first had the idea for the show. We then started working with them in 2019, and we suggested some ideas that would offer total immersion into the main character. We wanted the main character, França, to be present in every scene, so we opted against using flashbacks or narration.
Can you share some of the collaborators and talent Spotify worked with to bring this story to life.
For França e o Labirinto, we’ve partnered with some of the best talent in Brazil. The creators and showrunners are Jovem Nerd’s founders, who have been in this audio universe for 20 years, and their show NerdCast is one of the most popular podcasts on Spotify, with more than 1.5 million monthly streams.
In terms of voice talent, we have Selton Mello, a well-known and recognized actor in Brazil for major roles in TV, cinema, and dubbing. We also have a dream team of Brazilian voice actors including Luiz Carlos Persy, Maíra Góes, and Jorge Lucas, among others. And we have special appearances by Igão and Mítico, hosts of the Spotify Original podcast Carona Podpah, as well as screenwriter and comedian Antônio Tabet. The voice talents were also directed by the talented Fernanda Barone.
What do you see as the future of the fiction podcast genre in Brazil?
I look forward to seeing the fiction podcast genre continue to grow and diversify in Brazil. We hope that França e o Labirinto will inspire many independent creators to venture into the podcast universe and explore different types of formats and styles.
Ready to follow along with França as he tracks down a mysterious serial killer for a second time? Stream all 13 episodes of França e o Labirinto by pressing play below.