WHY AUDIO NEVER GOES VIRAL

This  a great article about Audio and the Internet. I have pulled some excerpts that points out how we feel about promoting music and what tools we use to create the stir that we long to be viral. Read it all (notice I didn’t say listen!)  at Why Audio Never Goes Viral 

Cat Video Vs. The Cat’s Meow

Bianca Giaever has always been obsessed with radio. As a child, while she biked her newspaper delivery route, she listened to an iPod loaded exclusively with episodes of WBEZ’s “This American Life.” At Middlebury College, she stalked her classmates, dragging them to her dorm room to record interviews she edited into stories for the college station and smaller audiences online. “I was fully planning on working in radio,” she says. “My whole life.” That is until, the day after graduation, she became a viral video star.

When she painstakingly crafted moving audio narratives, her parents and brother listened. When she added video to her final college project, “The Scared is Scared” — a 6-year-old’s dream movie brought to life — “It just. Blew. Up.”

Last October, several dozen audiophiles gathered in a basement auditorium for an all-day conference about “the future of radio in a digital age.” Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian finished a talk he’s been giving to college campuses about the Internet and the transformative power it can unleash when it mobilizes a mass of people around an idea, a video, a website, a tweet. When he took questions, I asked: Why does the Internet so rarely mobilize around audio? What would it take to put audio on the Reddit front page? Read more at at Why Audio Never Goes Viral

Those in the Internet audio business tend to give two explanations for this disparity. “The greatest reason is structural,” says Jesse Thorn, who hosts a public radio show called “Bullseye” and runs a podcast network called Maximum Fun. “Audio usage takes place while you’re doing something else.” You can listen while you drive or do the dishes, an insuperable competitive advantage over text or video, which transforms into a disadvantage when it comes to sharing the listening experience with anyone out of earshot. “When you’re driving a car, you’re not going to share anything,” says Thorn.

The second explanation is that you can’t skim sound. An instant of video is a still, a window into the action that you can drag through time at will. An instant of audio, on the other hand, is nothing. “If I send someone an article, if they see the headline and read a few things, they know what I want them to know,” a sound artist and radio producer told me. “If I send someone audio, they have to, like… listen to it.” It’s a lot to ask of an Internet audience.

A Cloud Atlas?

If there is any company attempting to create a modern web alternative to the podcast, it’s SoundCloud.

“Podcasting: It’s a fairly old school method of distribution,” says its co-founder and CTO Eric Wahlforss. “We are certainly of the opinion that SoundCloud is the superior way of broadcasting your show across the web.”

If you’ve played audio from Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, you’ve likely seen it: the slow crawl of orange across a gray waveform. This omnipresent, embeddable player is what has most clearly attracted the moniker “YouTube for audio.” Hoping to make sound as sharable as video, SoundCloud delivers this content via a streaming player instead of a dressed-up file download.

The Message Is The Medium

Last October, Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian told a basement full of audiophiles to go make “the Upworthy for audio,” but in a sense, we already have the Upworthy for audio: Upworthy. With its scientifically-selected, clickbait headlines, it  is the reason nearly two million people have heard the future president of Ireland Michael Higgins dress down rightwing talk show host Michael Graham (“A Tea Partier Decided To Pick A Fight With A Foreign President. It Didn’t Go So Well.”) It’s the reason hundreds of thousands have heard Geoffrey Gevalt tell a small poignant story, set to music, about his daughter (“A Toddler Gets Totally Profound In a Way Most Adults Don’t”) and Summer Puente about her father (“Every Night This Dad Falls Asleep in Front of the TV. There’s a Beautiful Reason Why.”)

The Upworthy sector of the Internet economy isn’t just healthy, it’s insatiable and omnivorous in its appetite for content it can coax people into clicking and sharing. “Whether it’s audio, whether it’s video, whether it’s still images, whether it’s text: my system remains pretty much the same,” says Neetzan Zimmerman. “For me it doesn’t really matter.”

Read the whole article Why Audio Never Goes Viral

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