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"The Hobbit" as a free iPhone app
Old 11-03-2011   #1
Doug Wood
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Default "The Hobbit" as a free iPhone app

The idea has come up here several times to release audio projects as apps for use on iPhone / iPad / etc. Not because that format has any technical advantage over standard mp3 files, but because there is a huge pool of device owners looking for content - especially *free* content.

If you are interested in seeing how one company has tried this, check out this free download of Tolkien's The Hobbit audiobook. It is a free downloadable app today, but is pretty cheap anyway if you miss the deadline for the freebie. Reviewers comments on the iTunes store are very positive for this item - maybe just 'cuz its free, or maybe because they really like the format and would welcome more releases like it.

Download site: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/j.tol...452281804?mt=8

Anyone else tried this methodology for distribution of Audio Theatre?


(Standard disclaimer - I'm not connected to the company; just pointing out an interesting offer.)
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Old 11-03-2011   #2
hudson
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In general, I don't really get the point of iPhone (or other device) apps for audio content. Since iTunes will download and sync it for you anyway, if it's just to get the audio I don't see why anyone would bother using it.
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Old 11-04-2011   #3
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In general, I don't really get the point of iPhone (or other device) apps for audio content. Since iTunes will download and sync it for you anyway, if it's just to get the audio I don't see why anyone would bother using it.
As I said, there is no technical reason to distribute audio by app. Just a *possible* marketing reason. Not to replace mp3s, but as a additional tool to reach a different pool of listeners. Using mp3s is perfect for getting to people who already know your work and/or know where to find it.

Distribution by app would only be a benefit for an audio creator if it actually ends up getting your projects into more ears - the ears of people who regularly shop for apps but don't shop for audio files. And there doesn't seem to be enough history to determine if if it worth the effort to *add* apps to your other distribution methods.

(Note: Many of the larger podcasters offer an app which helps listeners get current and past episodes. So, maybe the likely candidates for apps are companies with a deep catalog and a steady release schedule. Also, ITunes seems to have recently mandated that new apps by podcasters must do more than just deliver files. They want to see some other function as well to be approved.)
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Old 01-09-2012   #4
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The only benefit of doing an app version is that you can package a higher quality version (I assume) than what is allowed on iTunes via the "audiobook" format on their store. Blackstone audio has some apps like this. Here is a quote from them

"The audio is of higher-than-normal quality, making for a great listening experience that will not tire your ears or grate on your nerves."
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Old 01-10-2012   #5
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I personally haven't embraced the "smart phone" lifestyle, but happen to work in a place with 500 people ages 20 to 30, and it is stunning how much time they spend staring at their phones. That is what has led me to suspect that delivery of audio drama by app might work. (For some shows and some listeners - not all shows and all listeners.)

But with the few apps I've actually looked at, there seems to be a split between...

a. ... those which come with the audio content pre-loaded and can only play what was included with the download.

b. ...those that need to access the internet (by wi-fi or cell) to get to the ever-changing archive of program content for the featured show (podcast or other show with multiple installments or chapters.)

Perhaps the ones with the content pre-loaded are more likely to allow for better audio than the ones that require show-by-show connection and downloads. But then, higher quality usually indicates larger file sizes, longer downloads and more expense for the producer (and customer) in cases where you pay for bandwidth.

Food for thought. Junk food, maybe, but still might fill a need.
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