The Top Audio Trends You Need To Know About!

26 October 2021

Along with Video, Animation and AV, audio is one of AVC Immedia’s most important sectors.  We know a fair bit about it, as you’d expect!  In this blog piece, CEO Ross Penney sets out the top audio trends you need to know and why his take on the five trends are the most important trends in audio today.

1. Listening is becoming an intimate true wireless experience

Look around you as you walk down the street. How many people have wireless ear buds? A lot. People love the convenience of listening without wires and the noise-cancelling capabilities that are now packed into these devices which feature as the first of our top audio trends.

Once upon a time, brands had to shout to be heard out of the radio in the corner of the room. Now, they are right there in our ears, and that requires a different tone of voice and approach.

Billie Eilish is the perfect example. In your headphones she sounds like she’s right next to you singing subtly in your ears and speaking directly to you.

In this in-ear world, brands need to dial back the loudness and get much more personal and conversational. Smart audio producers are already working with different microphone positions to get a more intimate sound from voice talent.

2. The Smart Home is getting smarter

In the UK, a third of adults are using smart speakers to listen to audio, and that number is growing. They’re a quick and convenient way to get the audio you want, whether it’s music, podcasts, or the football commentary on the radio.

As smart homes expand to do more, audio will remain at the centre but, as always, there’ll be a battle for attention.

Audio has had speakers to itself over the years, but the next generation of smart speakers will have to handle much more – to save space smart speakers will also carry sound from TVs and gaming consoles. Audio has a prime opportunity to be at the centre of these new home entertainment systems.

As the speakers get more powerful, the technical quality of your audio is going to have to be spot on. To sound great, you’re going to have to sound as professional as a Hollywood blockbuster or latest mega-game that will be playing on the same speakers.

3. AI just gets bigger and bigger

When Adele realised her first new song in years, Easy on Me, it shot to the top of the streaming charts. At the time of writing, another 14 of her older tracks are also sitting on those charts. Why?

Mostly because of AI. Our streaming services noticed we liked listening to the new Adele track and so decided to give us others to listen to. Yes, some people decided to check out her back catalogue after hearing her new song, but the majority of streaming listening is driven by tracks that AI has decided we’d like to hear.

As AI grows in use, brands will have to up their AI game to ensure their audiences is hearing the right content. AI rewards good content and good coding. – getting that right now will pay dividends in the long run.

4. Paying for Podcasts

Podcasting has been “the next big thing” in audio for years. The trouble has been making podcasts pay. Unless you have a large global reach, you’ve been better off thinking of podcasts as brand builders or labours of love.

Very slowly, podcasting is inching towards being a paid-for media. We’re all used to having a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription to watch the latest TV box sets, and it won’t be long before paying for the next bingeworthy podcast becomes a reality, making them one of our top audio trends.

There will still be thousands of free podcasts around, but the ones people talk about and consume in numbers will be behind a paywall.

5. Brand voices and sonic identities are becoming increasingly important

The latest research shows that people build their own listening schedules. Whereas once we’d stick on a radio station in the morning, listen to another at work and listen to some music in the evening, we’re now chopping and changing our audio sources more frequently.

We might listen to the news on the radio first thing, a podcast on the way to work,  streaming service in the gym, on-demand radio on the way home and a playlist in the evening.

Thanks to digital advertising platforms, brands can be heard all the way through this new soundtrack to the day. However, the sound of your brand has to work harder than ever before. As well as encapsulating the brand perfectly, your sonic identity will need to be distinctive to be heard and recognised in these varied situations.

Audio remains a strong way to communicate. People spend around a third of their days consuming audio, and trends above throw up some challenges and some very exciting opportunities.

AVC Immedia offers your brand the ability to take advantage of these top audio trends and the new audio soundscape.

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