Audio Innovations News

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Audio Innovations News

The research provides insights and further details on the news identified in preliminary findings. The strategic movement towards audio communication and podcast appears to be part of the M&A wave. Business partnership and organic innovation in audio technologies are also common practices in audio products and services. An immersive experience, animation, and personalized audio are some key innovation zones.

Key Findings

  • AirPod Max: In comparison to similar products, such as SONY, the quality of AirPod MAX is unmatched, for example, audio quality and quality life features. An innovative feature of the AirPod Max is magnetically attached ear cushions, which are replaceable if worn. Moreover, its Bluetooth easy-pairing and noise-cancelling features also make the product stand out. For improving the audio effect of video content, the unique spatial audio features track iOS devices and make sound always feel like coming from the screen, even when users constantly move their heads. However, many of these innovative features only work or work best on Apple devices, such as iPhone. Lately, there appear to be some design issues with ear cups, since some users have experienced ear detection problems in a humid environment; the condensation issue could cast doubt on product longevity.
  • PSB Speakers: Since the partnership with Swedish audio specialist, Audiodo, began in July 2020, PSB Speakers has started to integrate the head-related transfer function (HRTF) into its loudspeakers. Enhanced products take into account factors that impact the audio experience of individuals, such as "head density, ears, ear canal, nasal cavity, and oral cavity." With the expertise in hearing calibration, personal profile calculation, and audio processing algorithms, Audiodo brings PSB Speakers a competitive advantage by incorporating audio personalization technologies. Acoustical algorithms and digital signal processing are expected to provide a perfect sound quality customized for each listener.
  • Amazon: With the strategy of building a premium, music streaming platform, Amazon Music's acquisition of Wondery enriches the platform with quality and innovative audio content and brings creators, hosts and immersive experience to listeners; the move was driven by the evolving habit of music listeners. Wondery, a podcast platform, strengthens the recently-launched podcast offering of Amazon Music by adding its most popular programs. The acquisition is expected to expand Amazon Music's user base from mobile devices and smart speakers and make the company a close competitor of SiriusXM, Spotify, and Apple.
  • Twitter: The acquisition of Breaker, a social podcast application, allows Twitter to roll out an audio-based social networking project. Breaker's technology allows Twitter users to "chat in real-time using voice instead of text." As part of the recent wave of podcast acquisitions, Twitter takes over the staff and technology of Breaker, instead of only content. As a boost to Spaces, the audio chat rooms on Twitter, Breaker is considered to be a strategic acquisition that shows Twitter's commitment in the long term. With the shutdown of video streaming service, Periscope, Twitter shifts the innovation focus to audio communication and is expected to generate advertising revenues by following suite Google.
  • Salem Media Group: Its Salem Podcast Network focuses on delivering conservative content over multiple podcast platforms, such as SalemNow.com, YouTube, and Rumble. Salem Podcast Network leverages meaningful names and well-known hosts to enhance the brand value of podcasting. The company delivers the message of addressing issues that audiences care about most. As a natural extension of Salem Media Group, Salem Podcast Network delivers audio content "through a biblical world view and a politically conservative lens."
  • JBL: The JBL Campus SoundSessions provides college students from the disadvantaged black population with the opportunity to participate in a mentorship program. The program comprises six curated conversations between students, JBL executives, and reputable speakers in the music industry, which allows students to learn from personal growth stories and build a professional network. By partnering with Culture Creators, JBL helps the young minority population overcome challenges in the workplace and cultivate diverse cultures and associated innovation at JBL.
  • MOK: Its Filtryg, a new feature-rich dual filter, generates creative welcome animation and movement in soundtracks, which brings about new features associated with rhythmic and timbral expressiveness. The filter section has three tried-and-true models, namely State Variable filters, Ladder filters, and Biquad filters, each of which produces a different sound. The filter plug-in is enhanced by an eye-catching interface with multi-color schemes. "Integrated Envelope Follower, audio range LFOs, and MIDI Keyboard Tracking" are modulators that enable filter motions. With its filter DSP technology, Filtryg's metamorphic tracks enable artists and producers to generate creative audio effects.
  • Steve Brown: the legendary UK sound mixer and engineer, died at the age of 65. Since his debut in sound production in the 1980s, Steve has produced many great works, such as BC's debut single, "Tears Are Not Enough", Wham!'s first record, "Fantastic", and The Cult's "She Sells Sanctuary." Steve is an influential figure in the evolution of The Cult, a British Rock Band, and part of the band's DNA. He also brought a similar stadium sound to the "Motorcycle Emptiness" of Manic Street Preachers in the 1990s.
  • Downloads of audio podcasts by the US consumers: Despite the slow-down during holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, podcast downloads in the US maintain an upward trend with a year-on-year growth of 19% in 2020. The growth was driven by the content category of science (20%), education (19%), society and culture (11%), history (11%), and business (10%). US consumers use podcasts as a means to learn new things and educate their children. The podcast advertising revenue in the US market is expected to exceed $1 billion in 2021.

Research Strategy

The research looked through a variety of news releases and articles that have been published since December 30, 2020. Despite multiple sources of information available, many of them appear to be similar, with limited information on the impact of new audio innovations or technologies. Hence, the research team provides strategic insights or market impacts based on the most likely scenarios of business activities. Moreover, there is limited the latest statistics on the download volume of audio podcasts in the US.

Research proposal:

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