Amongst the dreadful impact that COVID-19 has had on both families and businesses around the world, one positive to focus on is the opening that the pandemic has provided for consumers to express their creativity. Lockdown has given people the time and opportunity to stop and learn something new. When it comes to home recording, the accessibility of low-cost equipment and tools for all entry levels has made the opportunity to create content highly appealing.
At Audio Collaborative 2020, Market Analyst James Kirby discussed the content creation market in further detail, alongside the incredible growth of virtual events, live streaming and how COVID has triggered a surge in professional home audio equipment. Joining him for the discussion was Meridith Rojas, Global Head of Creator Marketing at Logitech, Jim Odom, Founder & Chief Strategy Officer at PreSonus and Katy Templeman-Holmes, Director of Market Strategy at Harman Professional.
TikTok springs to mind as a hugely effective content creation tool for entry-level consumers. Meridith Rojas explained, “such platforms have created a cathartic, enjoyable way for consumers to express themselves, and as a result – we’re finding some unsuspecting talent along the way. It’s been a moment in time that people have come together via social networks - not just to look and scroll - but to actively participate themselves.”
The need to look and sound better becomes more addictive once entry-level consumers begin to create a following online, often starting with the simple use of their smartphones. Meridith added that it is this first phase of content creation, where people become hooked on sharing their perspective to an engaged audience, that has led to the growing consumer interest in professional-tier audio products.
Jim Odom expressed that the virtual experience and live streaming of concerts is simply not the same. Jim continued that, “while the industry is trying to invent new ways of tackling this issue through the development of improved tools for live streaming, how does a virtual fan participate in real time with other virtual fans in a better way? We have to make the experience far better.”
Meridith also added that “we aren’t saying here that there isn’t a live streaming solution, but in fact that we are missing the human element in the existing offering today.”
“While there is some interesting genre bending and cross platform opportunities happening – for example, with concerts taking place in ‘Fortnite’ - fans currently aren’t pretending they’re elsewhere. In terms of replacing physical events from a social aspect, we haven’t cracked the code yet,” continued Meridith.
Meridith explained that the hybrid model must provide a unique view for those consumers live streaming an event, something that gives their experience an edge over those attending physically. “This may involve changing the angles of the camera or providing a backstage ‘behind the scenes’ view. How can we have the hybrid model but make the at-home experience different, so it’s not just syndicating what’s on stage?”
Katy Templeman-Holmes expanded on this point, adding that it’s about making the experience special for those attending remotely. “Audio quality is still as relevant for consumer’s home equipment as it is for professional artists, and for what they too experience. As bandwidth and compression improves, there is now more opportunity than ever to create this differentiation.” Ultimately, providing more options for the type of audio equipment available to consumers will impact the success of hybrid events.
Katy commented on the growing area of remote production, which ultimately creates a more efficient process in terms of both time and finances. “This is a big driver that’s been realised and an area that has been brought on us by circumstance. People are now realising that remote production is not just possible but are growing to appreciate and understand the benefits of it.”
While Katy explained that technologies such as AR, VR and immersive audio will help us to remain creative and engaged, the challenge will come down to the technology barriers in less developed countries, where sophisticated infrastructure is not yet possible. This will ultimately impact how that curve of growth is shaped. Katy commented that, “there are tonnes of opportunity here and the future is bright. The industry has extra supplements, open minds and agile technologies to drive us forward.”
“I think we’ve all discovered things in lockdown that we wouldn’t have, if we hadn’t been forced to be extra creative,” said Meridith. “We’ve been thinking in different ways and there’s certainly some efficiencies we’ve discovered.”
Jim Odom also added that collaboration tools utilised in lockdown have enabled musicians to remain creative and engaged in real time. “This certainly will be an area that continues to explode. While it is true that post-pandemic consumers will crave the physical experiences more than ever, it is these technological elements that you simply cannot unlearn.”
To find out more about the services we offer across the audio sector, please contact Leon Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you were unable to attend Audio Collaborative 2020, tickets are still available for on demand access to view all of the panels and presentations from both days. View our events page here for more detail.
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