Category: Audio

The Audio Channel


 

audio

Startup snapshot: The Owl Field

Michel LafranceMichel Lafrance is the founder and managing director for The Owl Field, an audio entertainment company specializing in 3D audio storytelling. In addition to managing the startup, he is the content producer and sound designer. Here we interviewed him. 

 

1) What exactly is The Owl Field?

The Owl Field is about 3D Audio storytelling. We produce immersive audio dramas that place the listener as the story’s central character, and from a first person perspective, everything happens around the listener in a 3D audio soundscape. Characters, sound effects and music surround the listener just as in the real world. The listener wears a pair of headphones, closes their eyes, and is simply transported to their virtual world.

2) What problem does it solve?

Audiobooks have seen amazing growth over the past five years, but the future of entertainment is immersive media like virtual reality and 360video. Our audio dramas fill the current gap between traditional audiobooks and virtual reality, and are a way for publishers to keep pace with those future forms of entertainment. Filling this gap would help attract new listeners, would provide new content for existing fans, and would offer a virtual experience for people living with sight loss who are currently completely underserved in the visuals-based virtual reality industry.

audio 3D

3) Who is your target market?

Our storytelling format can be applied to any story genre so our target market is wide open. We currently have numerous productions for ages 13+, and also one for ages 3+ that we plan to turn into a series. The beauty of 3D audio is that it can be experienced on any standard pair of headphones. There’s no need to purchase expensive or clunky virtual reality headsets so it’s an affordable and accessible form of virtual reality for everyone.

4) What are your goals for the next few years?

We want to be a pioneer in 3D audio storytelling. The popularity of audio entertainment will continue to grow over the next few years and with it the demand for immersive experiences. Our goal is to work with publishers to meet that demand by giving authors and publishers an exciting new format for existing fans and by attracting new listeners to publishing audio entertainment.

5) After you initial success, what will be next for The Owl Field?

We’ve just released a new podcast for all things 3D audio and we’re currently pursuing funding for our next production. We’re thrilled to be working with an award-winning fantasy audio drama writer for it and are equally excited to be augmenting the experience by adding elements of interactivity and personalisation.

You can get in touch with The Owl Field via email, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

ali muirden audio books

On audio books and their future: Ali Muirden interview

Ali Muirden divides her time between running her own digital publishing company, Creative Content and working on a freelance and consultancy basis for her publishing clients, specialising in audio producing/directing, publishing and also casting audio book projects on their behalf. She is a multi Audie Award winning and Grammy nominated audio book producer and director. Here BookMachine’s Laura Summers interviews her.

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Reading aloud: merging audio and text just got a lot easier

You may know that the modern EPUB3 standard has an inbuilt ability to hold audio and video, but one of the most intriguing aspects of EPUB3 that you may have overlooked is ‘Read-aloud’. This technique, sometimes called ‘media overlays’, combines a spoken audio track with accurate timing information usually used to highlight words on the page in time with the spoken audio.

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skills for publishing

Audio rights making waves

This is a guest post from Tom Chalmers, Managing Director at IPR License.

It’s a bit of a contradiction in terms but one of the fastest growing areas of the rights and licensing sector is also the one which we arguably hear the least from. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the audiobook industry is currently worth somewhere in the region of $2.5bn to $2.6bn per year and growing. However, the amount of rights business being written often goes under the radar.

Here at IPR License we saw consistent, and substantial, demand for audio rights throughout 2014. This time last year we reported that licensing demand for international audio rights rose by 32 per cent in Q2 2014. This was largely based on publisher to publisher figures and whilst this business continues to grow, more internal analysis shows that enquiries for audio rights for self-published works have more than doubling (58 per cent) in the first half of 2015, when compared to H2 2014 figures.

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David Hewson releases new novel exclusively as audiobook

Popular mystery author David Hewson will this week release his latest novel, The Flood. His fans, however, will not be able to read it – at least in the strictest sense of the word – until some time next year, because the novel will initially see release exclusively as an audiobook, with print editions to follow at an as yet unspecified date. Further than that, The Independent reports, Hewson has intimated he may eventually move to writing exclusively for audiobooks.

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Simon Callow’s audiobook for dogs is now a thing that exists

 

The above is video footage of Simon Callow – who, up to this point, has been most widely acclaimed for his performances as Charles Dickens and his biographies of Orson Welles – reading Teddy & Stanley’s Tall Tale by Laura Quinn. You might think ‘aw, that’s nice, Callow’s gone a bit Jackanory – y’know, for the kids!’ for about six seconds, until the esteemed actor intones the words ‘this story is about a very, very good dog – just like you’, and you realise that this is either what they would have played over the speakers in Dickensian workhouses had they the technology, or is, in fact, the world’s first audiobook designed specifically with dogs in mind.

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Bardowl launches streaming audiobook subscription service

Bardowl App Icon In a move that will either be hailed as bringing publishing in line with the demands of a perma-streaming society or derided as pandering to a generation increasingly unaccustomed to having to pay for entertainment, Bath company Bardowl has launched a Spotify-style service allowing users to listen to as many audiobooks as they like for a fixed monthly fee of £9.99. Accessed via a free app for iPhone and iPad, subscribers are able to stream any of the company’s library of audiobooks on the go, with unlimited access to all available titles.

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Can Audio Books Be Cool?

I’m not going to lie – I’ve always thought audio books were lame as hell.  The disappointing nephew of the hardback; the ugly duckling of the literary landscape. They bring back memories of long car rides to boring towns when my mum would put on a tape of some Victorian period drama read by an artist’s rendering of Jane Austen. Invariably I would hear half of it and then miss some and then hear some more of it and the leaps in narrative would piss me off and the English accent would clash with the Australian landscape, and the cases for the tapes were ugly and would get under my feet  – a car accident waiting to happen. 

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Top 5 digital promo tools: Part 1 – Audio

In an era where you’re competing with umpteen websites, Facebook feeds, Twitter streams and mobile apps – promoting new books and publications can be somewhat daunting.

Over the course of the next few days, I’ll show you a few tools that are highly effective, low cost (or free) ways of promoting books and authors, engaging with readers and generally doing all you can to sell more books.

The first area we’ll look at is audio. Often overlooked in the rush to create YouTube videos or trailers; audio is still hugely popular. I can honestly say that there hasn’t been a project that I’ve worked on where the number of audio streams accessed or number of podcasts downloaded hasn’t ended up surprising me and my clients alike. It’s definitely worth thinking using a tool like Soundcloud as part of your promotional efforts.

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