Aflorithmic will take audio content creation to new heights
Over the past six years, spoken audio — which includes news, sports, talk/personality, and audiobooks — has grown 30%, growing another 8% in 2020. Those who listen to spoken audio on average about two hours of listening per day— nearly half (48%) of their total daily viewing time.
Despite this acceleration of listening in our current digital age, audio content is one of the last carriers in the race for technological advancement. Although it is used in all industries and the need is certainly there, some quirks of audio clip creation have inhibited its automation.
This is because some key elements of audio creation cannot be easily replicated by technology, especially when trying to digitally create speech. It’s things like rhythm, pitch, time, cadence, and contextual inflection of the voice, all of which are essential for audio to satisfy listeners’ ears enough to truly engage.
A company, Aflorithmic, is leading the way in helping to innovate audio content for the future with the world’s first fully automatable solution for end-to-end audio. Their “Audio-As-A-Service” platform will help audio creation catch up with the rest of the rapidly advancing technological innovations in content creation and allow audio to keep pace with its current consumption.
The transition of visual consumption
People are maxed out on screen time, with more 50% of adults increase their screen time on at least two different devices over the past year, leading individuals to seek alternatives in content consumption. This is where the audio ramps up. Audio also has its own advantages that visual content does not, such as allowing listeners to multitask while listening, such as in the case of working out or preparing a meal.
Yet a rigid, linear process has been the only way to produce audio to date, and being locked into this highly manual audio production process makes it difficult to bring audio clips to listeners quickly and easily. Mistakes can cost a lot of money and time, which has crippled the scale of its production in the digital age.
The Aflorithmic company changes this by offering a platform that includes the entire audio production chain. Their platform shows that fast, digestible content is possible in the world of sound, thanks to an intuitive and fully loaded AI audio platform that helps producers create great sound from start to finish. Aflorithmic particularly focuses on advancing the most delicate audio component of the synthetic voice, which to date has been difficult to reproduce digitally because it is limited to very few elements of human speaker intonation.
Until now, most synthetic media companies stop once the text-to-speech has been created, revealing an audio clip that is simply a screen reader without the necessary elements for listener engagement. AI platforms help take audio content to the next level by providing the audio creation tools that make the difference between a screen reader and a podcast.
API for audio
Aflorithmic is an API-based solution, which means the company integrates its APIs with your system instead of requiring users to learn a whole new graphical system. The benefit of this is that you have maximum flexibility and can run Aflorithmic under the hood, without having to tell anyone, while experienced developers make it easy.
“It’s a choice we made deliberately,” said Matthias Lehman at Aflorithic. “We help producers use their own platforms to adapt audio within the creative studio of their choice.”
Aflorithmics APIs consist of three main services that mirror the traditional audio production process. The first is a “script”, where you create text that you want one or more synthetic voices to say, which can be run manually or automatically from a document or database.
The second service is called “speech” and, as the name suggests, is the part of the process where speech is rendered. Aflorithmic offers over 400 voices from the best text-to-speech vendors and each month dozens more are added, which means they take care of the compatibility and maintenance required, removing much of the work for the customer.
“This is the stage where you can customize your audio and create thousands of type versions in seconds,” Lehmann said. “This service acts as an alternative to your traditional voice actor and sound studio setup.”
The third and final service is called “Mastering” and this is where the real magic happens. Users can select an AI-powered sound design that automatically adapts to the length of speech needed. The sound also has the ability to change depending on what’s going on in your script – why Aflorithmic calls it sound design rather than background music, since the service acts as a sound engineer and mastering.
New channels for audio
With these AI accelerations, the influence of automated audio is growing to penetrate and transform industries that have yet to use it. In reality, almost a quarter of all radio commercials in the United States should be automated by 2022. Automated audio production can help scale and adapt finished products in content creation, developing thousands of versions that can be produced in seconds.
“Adaptability means reusing existing content and transforming it into an audio experience,” Lehmann said. “Audio is a format that can be used to promote your written content by offering summary or ‘snack content’ as audio on formats such as Instagram stories. Another option is to monetize new audio content that you have created from your existing content, by placing advertisements on it or by sponsoring it by a company.
It’s no wonder the publishing industry is an industry eager to tap into this new audio momentum. Smaller publishers especially looking for a solution to quickly and cost-effectively create engaging content – due to their lack of internal resources, automated audio offers a huge opportunity, and with declining margins in this industry as a whole – this now applies even to major media houses.
Twitter has been the exemplary platform for fast-paced content because it’s designed for short messages and quick updates for consumers, but audio “blurbs” could also be a remarkable new avenue for translating fast-paced updates. . If media companies take advantage of this, it puts the power back in the hands of publishing companies, and content producers won’t have to sell as much of their airtime to advertisers to stay afloat.
With a cost-effective way to produce audio content, even given the short lifespan of a news story, synthetic audio is carving out a niche where scalability and speed are vital. This is probably the reason why Aflorithmic was able to rely on a collaboration with German regional newspaper HNA to create automated newsletters with over 7 million monthly readers to automate news. On March 4, the HNA newscast celebrated its 100th episode, amassing over 500,000 views.
Aflorithmic has achieved the greatest audio capability for modern times, and with it opened new doors to its content production. Through their platform, audio content can be used for any written piece, turning any content into an audio experience that is a bespoke experience tailored to each listener’s individual interest.