The decade of audio content

June 19, 2020
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Audio has been making a steady-paced comeback in recent years.

It’s one of the oldest means of mass media but it comes and goes in favour.  First, it was phonographs, then came records and radio (AM, FM, mono, stereo, satellite, digital, night music jukeboxes). Almost every decade there has been something new but the audio has been foreshadowed by video format (e.g. TV) even though its reach is very wide.

This is the decade of audio again. It started with the comeback of podcasts and now Twitter announced audio tweets. Clubhouse and various synchronous audio apps are becoming ever more popular.

A few decades back, real-time audio was called push-to-talk with mobile phones. Talk radio was podcasts and streaming services. Voicemail (and dictation) has been incarnating from landlines with tape recorders to mobile phones and now reappearing as audiotweets, audiograms and snippets.

It took less than 24 hours to get back from the audiotweet to audio with subtitles, or just a tweet.

Articles as podcast

A few weeks back, I started to offer my blog posts as an AI-read audio version that you can subscribe as a podcast (available on Google and Apple Podcasts, Spotify and RSS-feed). This is another way to get my articles in addition to subscribing to them via email.

As with email, podcast format allows you to listen to them without visiting the website and going to the article and then pushing the play button. Opening the article is not much better than reading the article if you are on the go or with your mobile. It requires your full attention and hands to operate. Compare that to a pure audio solution where you can binge listen to all the articles with your podcast player.

I decided to use an AI service to produce the audio file. Let me know your thoughts on that. It saves my time and since I’m offering the blog for free that’s the price for it. If you are willing to pay a monthly subscription I’m happy to read the articles (or maybe you pay me to use the AI in that case).

Audio beats video with messy hair

I’m also experimenting with live audio chats as a means to extend my reach and connect with people. Video calls have their place but I think audio is a very good medium for many things.

It’s easier to produce audio and there’s less threshold to hop into a conversation. With video, there’s always the full attention, visual appearance, background and beauty filter effects that need to be taken into account.

The same applies to recorded video. It takes more time to prepare, produce and post-production is also heavier with the video format. If you’re offering just talking heads audio may not be that bad an option.

VR beats video with messy hair

The next decade is probably the decade of VR where we can skip the video and have the audio with computer-generated avatars and surroundings. Then again, it’s like audio but with visuals that do not need to resemble our actual surroundings and state in the interaction. You can still be with your messy hair or in an awkward visual environment and no one is any wiser.

Audio resembles text when consumed and searched

Audio becomes richer with real-time or almost instant conversion to text format. This enables subtitles, translations and also text searches. Keywords, summaries and consuming large amount of audio in a few minutes become possible with these technologies.

I’m already listening most of my audio content between 2.5-3.5 speed. Add incremental jumps of 15-45 seconds and you can skim through audio files almost like written text.

While we are at audio tips I leave you with one audio hack I published as a Tiktok video: how you can consume long articles on the go without reading them on your phone.

@petrikaj

How to make your phone to read you web pages ##tip ##iphone ##howto ##lifehack ##audio ##trick ##phone ##text ##didyouknow ##education ##edutok ##edutoklifetips

♬ original sound – petrikaj

If you would like to comment, argue, discuss or chat about these topics get Voicehub with my skip-the-line link and join my Purpose ’n Clarity hub where we can have live discussions (or comment this article with snippets or plain old text replies).

Start talking and get used to hearing your voice. This is the decade of audio for all of us.