I am a huge believer in audio. These days, more than ever.
I started listening to audiobooks 11 years ago, inspired by a friend (thank you, Rouven!). I had a portable MP3 player. First, I had to buy or lend a CD, then convert the CD into MP3, and then load them onto the device. The device would not remember my audio position, so I would keep a note on my phone with the last track I completed. It was cumbersome, but I loved it. I would listen to books on my commute or while walking around. A whole new world opened up to me.
Fast forward to today. Each smartphone is a high-end audio player. You can subscribe to things, and they are automatically downloaded onto your device. Or you simply purchase and download them digitally. How cool is that?
I agree with Marc Andreessen that audio will be (and already is) “titanically important“. For me, audio is the most important medium. I listen to 2 to 8 hours of audio per day. Books, Podcasts, YouTube videos, text-to-speech, everything.
Text is great. I love writing and reading. But I have to admit: audio is more convenient. It can be better integrated into your daily life. Personally, I have the capacity to consume much more audio than text.
I think it’s time for everyone to start thinking about audio. Personally, my audio production skills are pretty underdeveloped, so I have a natural reluctance. It’s a completely new area of expertise. Of course, it’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s something you need to learn and master.
I’m starting to think about it myself. This episode was great food for thought. It doesn’t need to be a podcast, though. It could simply be what Switzerland’s daily newspaper NZZ or Pocket is doing: offering a text-to-speech button.
Also, I found it important what Daniel Sennheiser, CEO of Sennheiser, said during his recent talk. You need to focus on your core competences (where you have an edge), and outsource or find partners for everything else. For most of us, audio is probably not our core competence. However, it should be pretty easy to find some talented freelancers on Upwork to help you with that.
Another thing I learned from Daniel Sennheiser is that smartphones are very good at video, but pretty shitty at audio. So you definitely need an external microphone. Personally, I have bought the Blue Yeti USB Microphone and have been very happy with it. It offers great value for money. Now, I only need to use it more often to bring my cost per use down…