I’m not that sold on Audioboo

I got a tweet today from someone at the SRA conference mentioning that a quote from me was included in a social media presentation. I’m not really sure about the context, but as Audioboo was on the panel it reminded me to write this post.

I’m generally very happy that anyone’s creating new and fun websites, especially ones that are connected to radio and audio. Audioboo is just such a site. It allows users to, easily, upload audio to the Audioboo website from the web or mobile. A sort of YouTube for audio. It’s nice and simple to use and has all the requisite social media-ery functions around it.

It, like many websites suffers from an awareness issue. It’s a seemingly good idea, executed fairly well but it’s not run-away-success popular. The world hasn’t really bitten in the way Draw Something suddenly goes viral. I think partly it’s because creating audio isn’t something lots of people think about. Punters are used to writing (for blogs or tweets) but not being entertaining in audio. That’s not to say they can’t – but it’s just a bit more difficult. With YouTube some people do vlogging, but the vast majority of clips are things that have been recorded for other reasons – filming your mate doing something stupid or uploading something that you don’t really have the rights too.

One of the ways Audioboo grows awareness is to encourage media brands to use the service – and then they get those media mentions/links as those brands promote their content on it. It’s not that different to say, radio stations, that talk about Facebook, Twitter or Youtube.

They have a pro product that turns their system into a more long-form podcasting system. So, someone like The Mirror can use it to do that. If you have your audio in podcast form (through any system) Radioplayer has a neat clips service that imports a podcast RSS feed and allows your content to show up in Radioplayer’s search system. So Audioboo talks a bit that their podcast system supports it too. I think £60 for an easy to use out-of-the-box podcasting system is probably not bad value.

However, what I don’t think i’d ever do is talk about Audioboo on-air or use its brand on any of my apps or website.

I talk about Facebook or YouTube on-air because (many of) my listeners understand it. I’m telling them that my stuff’s in that place that they already go, so when they’re there they should remember to check my stuff out. On Facebook I know that so much of my audience use it, that if I show up in their newsfeed with my updates then i’ll get some click thrus to my website or i’m able to provide timely reminders to tune in.

With YouTube it’s slightly different. I’m hoping that people subscribe to my stuff, but mainly i’m hoping new audiences come across what we’re doing through search and recommended videos. I want them to snack on my content, get a positive brand image and then consume more of us on YouTube and then hopefully on the web and radio.

Audioboo doesn’t really do either of those things – so why would add clutter to my radio station by saying i’ve Audioboo’d something?

What I am up for is more stations sharing great audio on other platforms. But if you’re going to do that, either have it on your website (and use it as an opportunity to promote your website) or put it on a website that everyone’s comfortable using – like YouTube!

For me putting audio on YouTube is a no brainer. They host, you’ll get traffic from search, you can easily embed on your website AND you can use that nice screen to show listeners something. A static slide with you station’s graphic and how to tune in is an absolutely fine place to start. We were experimenting with some audio interviews for Fun Kids and a Big Time Rush one did over 3,000 views (listens?) in 24hours. That was all because of the viral nature of YouTube – in the test it had no promotion at all from the station. As well as in-site activity it also got embedded on loads of fan websites -pushing our brand to more people. YouTube also gives me some great analytics so I can see where and how people consume that content.

I’d follow the same rule for other social sites as well. Does the time and effort spent on servicing the network justify the investment?

Make sure that you’re getting a return on your effort and take into account the negatives of helping someone else’s business at the expense of your own. If i’m talking about another product where my content lives I need to make sure that it’s doing something decent for me and not just adding clutter and confusion for my listeners.

So Audioboo as an invisible enterprise system? Maybe. As a consumer proposition for my listeners? No.