In 2021, the emergence of a more defined audio culture presented a commercial opportunity for many; 2022 has seen multiple brands increasingly use audio as a vehicle for creativity in everyday culture, contributing to the audio boom.
Several people used the excess time created in the context of the pandemic to listen, or to create their own podcasts to reflect and develop ideas or narratives that they could then share with others.
Many of these podcasts were centred around wellbeing – with a majority serving as verbal roadmaps for people looking for guidance in tumultuous times.
Looking ahead to 2023– audio culture will be geared toward creating a sense of calm, and community. We will see a growth in attention being brought to people’s personal audio care - ensuring people are more aware of how to monitor their hearing.
Using sound to facilitate self-soothing is becoming incredibly popular. For example – UK-based brand and app: Spoke aims to help users “re-tune” their minds.
As well as providing this mental clarity, the app is closing the gap between music and mental health. The concept grew from the realisation of music’s powerful effect on mood.
The app offers its users different episodes that feature a combination of music and spoken word, educating listeners on mindfulness and therapy techniques. The platform helps people achieve their desired mental state by working with a team of clinical psychologists, therapists, and neuroscientists – who train the artists and producers behind ‘Spoke’.
The co-CEO of Spoke, Ariana Alexander-Sefre gave a TEDx Talk on the power of music in helping negate the world’s male suicide epidemic. Sefre references a growing body of research highlighting the impact of music on our minds: in the UK, 72% of millennials see audio as a mental health resource, and 67% of Gen Zers use audio to reduce their stress levels (Spotify, 2021).
We can expect to see a growing number of brands looking to audio to help their consumers find solace, and a form of escapism in the context of instability.
Growing, is a desire to use audio as a vehicle to foster community. The return to busyness post-pandemic has taken time away from people. Making phone calls to loved ones or sitting on zoom in the evening with friends for a virtual drink or dinner, is a thing of the past.
Recognising the opportunity to restore a sense of community using audio as the vehicle, brand ‘Cappuccino’ has developed an app that allows family or friends to share short, intimate audio stories with one another to create a podcast.
The developers of the app have deemed audio as the next social frontier and want to encourage consumers to join this new approach to content consumption. The intimacy of listening to podcasts as if you were sat in a room with the creator is a completely different experience to scrolling through endless TikTok videos.
When friends or family members have recorded their audio clips you are able to play the amalgamation of everyone’s contributions. This allows users to start each day by checking-in with friends and family in a more playful, less time consuming way.
Given the sound revolution permeating popular culture – it is more important than ever to ensure consumers optimise their audio health. Especially seeing as of the 12 million adults with hearing loss in the UK, a staggering 9 million of these are living without the benefit of hearing aids.
Audio focused brand ‘Hearing Birdsong’ allows users to explore their hearing through the sound of nature. The platform encourages people to ‘lose themselves in five immersive chapters’ which are richly detailed with engaging graphics and birdsong recordings.
By gaining valuable insights into your hearing health, the brand wants to support and guide users on how and what they can do to future proof their audio health.
- Brands should utilise short content that is easy to record and is personal considering the new approach to content consumption that is growing for people who are looking to audio as a force to create a sense of community.
- As the audio boom prevails, it will become increasingly important for consumers to check in on their audio health. Being able to hear coherently in a society where audio is the next social frontier is imperative.
- A broader trend of escapism is shaping a new purpose for audio. Brands that can create or produce audio to facilitate wellness, or self-soothing will be successful as more people look to create moments of solace away from grind culture.
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