Digital technology and the ever growing use and functionality of the internet particularly in relation to social media has not only enabled the widespread use of interactive sound but has empowered people to create and publish their own productions with ease.
There is a huge range of audio and audio network sites offering a wide variety of services such as downloading MP3 and Wav audio files, production assistance in all things musical, free audio book access, audio tutorial and information sites as well as music streaming services.
In addition to this there are a growing number of social media audio sites providing ways for people to upload, store and share their audio files and express themselves through audio. Whilst there is an abundance of platforms to text, photo and video, the new audio sites are enabling people to voice their personalities and be heard. Interactive apps are springing up to provide a range of ways for people to communicate with audio messages, poetry, words of encouragement, jokes, rapping and of course music.
Described by some as hands free social networking there is no doubt this is an increasingly popular platform which has the unique feature of engaging and engrossing even when the listener is involved in another activity or as is often the case, because the listener is involved in another activity.
The availability and affordability of the digital technology that provides the tools for interactive sound means that the creation and production of this media is no longer the sole domain of the large corporations and digital media agencies.
And so whilst there is a significant and sophisticated industry providing commercial services to communicate through music and sound there is also an increasingly substantive community of people creating innovative and engaging offerings from their desktops, tablets and handheld devices.
The creation of interactive sound is a component of multimedia art, another increasingly popular pursuit which truly straddles commercial and personal participation. Multimedia art encompasses television, movies, video games and combines text, sound, video and graphics to create contemporary artworks that can engage all the senses.
An important aspect of interactive sound is the technology that enables it to be created, produced, stored and shared. This technology not only allows the provision of commercial services and the vast array of communication information it provides but also empowers people throughout the world to be part of a movement of creativity and expression in their own right.
An obvious area, use and requirement for interactive sound is for people who are blind or suffering from sight loss and we mark this fact here as there is an important public service need for the two million people in the UK living with sight loss and the three hundred and sixty thousand people registered as blind or partially sighted, of which some twenty five thousand are children under the age of sixteen.
We are an assortment of free thinking sound collaborators who want to engage as many people as possible in the wonderful and engrossing world of interactive sound. It’s accessible by all and can influence and shape experiences. It can raise spirits, motivate, unite, relax and improve the overall quality of life. We participate and play, inform and share the knowledge that can educate and improve. It’s a journey of engagement that we pursue with relish.
Organisations providing interactive sound services on a commercial basis have been around for some time but the last few years have seen an explosion in numbers and scope of services. As technology continues to advance bringing ever more functional options at prices now very much accessible to the many it has raised the levels of competition in the industry and in the process the quality of service.
The increasing use of the internet and in particular social media sites to store, exhibit and share interactive sound has also opened up the market to a whole new way of thinking.
It is an exciting time in interactive sound as young and innovative companies find it easier to get started and easier to compete with the larger organisations. This has helped provide price entry levels for services that were previously unavailable to the market and has also brought customised services at prices that more businesses and consumers can afford.
The flip side of this market fluidity is that many of the new entrants to the market have found it difficult to establish themselves and financial difficulties have ensued forcing many to become bankrupt. This is an unfortunate repercussion of a market that is continually evolving as it grows. Many of the smaller businesses may not have started with the ideal financial structure and have worked on a bootstrap approach to funding which hasn’t always worked out for them. Some have borrowed to operate and consequently encountered debt problems and struggled because of it.
However on the whole this new and growing industry is vibrant and continues to deliver high quality and innovative services.