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The 2015 buzz around digital audio


For many years people have been listening to radio through traditional devices; whether that’s cruising around in the car with Radio 1 blasting out the newest British Indie band or your grandma sitting by the radio catching the latest episode of the Archers –  but could things start changing at scale, is their a new “buzz” around digital audio?

Just to be clear – in no means am I claiming that “digital audio” is a new thing for 2015 .. but could this be the year that digital audio gets its seat on the front row of the audience catwalk.

The numbers …

17 million people in the UK stream digital audio every week. More sound is being created, streamed and shared on mobile than ever before. Soundcloud alone has 12 hours of new content uploaded every minute. The US digital audio advertising market is now worth $1.1 billion alone. Things are changing – The amount of music tracks that were stream in the UK alone doubled year on year with over 14.8m tracks streamed and 26% of all Digital Audio time comes from podcasts.

I’m pretty sure 2015 will be the year it explodes in Europe. Let’s look at some of the early signs …

A buzz around podcasting …

The Columbia Journalism Review cites how Serial has become the catalyst that saw the profitability of podcasts rise with the launch of many Kickstarter-esq projects for Podcasting networks and companies. The show Theory of Everything is able to start a paid internship program, and 99% Invisible will give raises to staff and subsidize healthcare.

buzzfeed podcastAnd now, the social media giant – Buzzfeed – has joined the digital audio party with the US release of podcasts “Internet Explorer” and “Another Round – soon to be making their way across the pond.

In a post announcing “Internet Explorer,” BuzzFeed staffers described it as a dive into the culture of the Web that examines “all the weird and wonderful rabbit holes of this terrible/fantastic internet that we love so much.” The other podcast, “Another Round,” promises to be an informal look at issues of pop culture, sexuality and race, along with “literally everything” else, according to a BuzzFeed post announcing its launch.

The company hopes to expand the audio offering in the future with things like shorter-run series, news shows and reported pieces, according to Jenna Weiss-Berman, BuzzFeed’s director of audio.

“Podcasting gives us a chance to bring our storytelling to life in a medium that is new and fresh to us. By hosting these sound-rich talk shows, our writers have had the opportunity to develop their distinct voices, explore topics in real depth, and engage with their audiences in new ways,” Weiss-Berman wrote.


So how are advertisers capitalising on this audience? Well, The Digital Audio Exchange is one attempt of capturing that undiscovered audience at large.

DAXThe Digital Audio Exchange (dax) from Global Media and Entertainment is the first product of its kind in the UK. It offers brands a single point of entry to advertise across a range of digital audio platforms including digital radio services from Global Radio brands like Smooth and Capital to competitor brands like Absolute Radio and talkSPORT, on-demand music streaming like Spotify and Blinkbox and audio sharing platforms like Audioboo.

DAX makes buying digital audio advertising easy by offering efficient planning, trading, serving and measurement of digital audio campaigns.

With some of the biggest media players like Global and Buzzfeed getting behind digital audio …. I’m not mystic meg, but i’m pretty sure this could be year that Digital Radio becomes mainstream for advertisers, consumers and tech heads alike.

Jonathan Jacob is currently Content Solutions Manager at Global Radio with varied experience across commercial radio S&P, events, marketing and PR. He was listed in the inaugural Radio Academy 30 under 30, is a Student Radio Awards judge and sat on the Events Committee for The Radio Academy. Views are personal.