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6 Audio First Startups Changing Legacy Industries

As innovators think of new ways to engage, expect technology to stop relying so much on eyes and start engaging other senses like hearing. There is already a lot going on in this space, and it’s only growing. Audio is set to disrupt every legacy industry in the world - and this time, they want you to hear them coming.

Hunter McKinley

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6 Audio First Startups Changing Legacy Industries

As voice and audio tech creeps into the business world, it’s also creeping into our personal lives. Every industry, from education to news to video editing, is being taken over by the startups that see the value in voice and audio. With that in mind, we’re rounding up 6 audio-first startups that are changing legacy industries. As demands change for how we interact with people, you might find yourself looking to this list for your next app download. 

1 - Clubhouse

Joinclubhouse social audio platform website
joinclubhouse.com

What it is

Think of Clubhouse like a mix of Twitter and Slack, but with audio. Instead of typing your thoughts out in a tweet, you use your voice to talk it out. And instead of going into specific channels like you would on Slack, you listen in to what folks are saying. 

Why it matters

Since the advent of social media, platforms have focused on text and pictures. The earliest iterations of social networks - from Friendster to MySpace - made it easy for people to share their feelings via text updates and customize their profiles with images and code. With Clubhouse, the entire dynamic is changing to voice and audio. This is a massive shift in social media, similar to how Instagram changed the game from text-first to visual-first. 

Link: https://www.joinclubhouse.com/ 

2 - Knowable

Knowable.fyi
knowable.fyi

What it is

It’s learning, but audio. Instead of taking lengthy courses with slides, presentations, and a lecture attached, Knowable focuses on audio-first learning. The platform boasts over 200 courses already and you can access them all with a cheap monthly subscription.

Why it matters

There are over 14 billion mobile devices in the world, and mobile device penetration is significantly higher than computer usage in developing countries. With audio-first learning, billions more people will have access to high quality education via mobile devices. And given Knowable’s rates (around $4 per month at the time of writing), that means a lot more education for a lot more people (in comparison, Harvard’s tuition is around $5,000 per month when you average it out).

Link: https://knowable.fyi/ 

3 - Descript

descript.com
descript.com

What it is

When you have calls or videos, Descript will transcribe it for you with “up to 90%” accuracy. But beyond that, you can actually edit the video and talk track using the transcription. You can listen in for the “uhms” and “ahhs” of the call, clip them out, and Descript takes care of the rest. 

Why it matters

For years, video editing was visually-based. You’d edit the video for how it looked and then worry about the talk track later. While this worked fine, it also created room for error where the talk tracks didn’t match the video (or even some cases where the talk track was from a different video entirely due to someone’s mistake). Descript flips that whole scenario, giving you the chance to edit audio-first. 

Link: https://www.descript.com/ 

4 - QCode

QCodemedia.com
qcodemedia.com

What it is

Before technology, storytelling was all audio - people shared stories at home or at a community center. With technology came TV, and storytelling became a visual medium that accelerated with platforms like Instagram. QCode is turning stories back to their original form, using audio to provide full shows, stories, and experiences for users.

Why it matters

This “new-old” form of storytelling is exactly what the world needs right now. As more people use their mobile devices for more parts of their lives, accessing a world of creative storytelling (without burning your battery from screen time), is going to change how we engage with the creative arts.

Link: https://www.qcodemedia.com/ 

5 - SpeechKit

speechkit.io
speechkit.io

What it is

The written word is not dead. Not by a longshot. But it could use some augmentation. As more blogs and media outlets look to create audio experiences for their written content, SpeechKit is there to help. The platform takes written content and generates an audio experience that you can publish on your site. 

Why it matters

Whenever technology makes content more accessible, everyone wins. Now, instead of listening to a podcast, you can “read” your favorite blogs by listening to them. It creates not only new business opportunities for media companies but increases access for people who can’t sit and read an article all at once. 

Link: https://speechkit.io/ 

6 - NewsOverAudio (NOA)

newsoveraudio.com
newsoveraudio.com

What it is

News is meant to inform people about what’s going on in their world. However, with the fast-paced world we live in, few people can sit and read a physical newspaper or pore over a news website for hours at a time. NewsOverAudio makes listening to the news similar to listening to a podcast - it can fill the times you have, not force you to make time in your day.

Why it matters

With increased access to information hopefully comes a more informed population. Further, adding audio helps people with vision difficulties or who use screen readers, since the NOA platform can produce higher audio quality in many cases. 

Link: https://newsoveraudio.com/ 

An audio world is coming

As innovators think of new ways to engage, expect technology to stop relying so much on eyes and start engaging other senses like hearing. There is already a lot going on in this space, and it’s only growing. Audio is set to disrupt every legacy industry in the world - and this time, they want you to hear them coming.

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