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COVID-19 Prompted Focus on Audio Quality

IABM notes changes in the global audio sector

IABM, audio listenership
A slide from the IABM report focuses on the audio supply chain. (Click here to enlarge.)

The pandemic has changed some priorities in the global audio business, according to IABM.

In its latest “Audio Sector” report, the association writes that pandemic lockdowns have had “significant and sometimes surprising” effects in audio, which it calls an “important, but sometimes unheralded” sector of broadcast and media.

IABM is an international trade association based in the U.K. It released the following takeaways; its full report is available to members.

It said:

  • COVID-19 “has led to a realization of the importance of audio quality, as disruptions hit production standards.”
  • The pandemic has “incentivized consumers to increasingly stream audio-only content,” prompting growth in areas such as podcasting.
  • From a technology perspective, “audio virtualization and remote production deployments have accelerated out of necessity, while other trends such as immersive audio have slowed down.”
  • Some audio business drivers such as the move to easy-to-use products have accelerated.
  • Demand in live sectors such as music and theater has plummeted “while other buyers such as streaming, smaller audio content creators and some adjacent markets have increased investment.”
  • The audio supply chain has been hit by the cancellations of events and productions more than it has been helped from new waves of spending from remote working, production, streaming and small audio producers.
  • And “some audio technology suppliers have pivoted to cater to the needs of new segments, as well as to accommodate the health and safety requirements of the pandemic in some sectors.”

IABM quoted its Head of Knowledge Lorenzo Zanni saying that while live events took a back seat, and stay-at-home viewers accepted lower-quality video, “the importance of high-quality audio really came to the fore.”

He said the pandemic also saw a “huge increase in the streaming of audio-only content, particularly podcasts and audio books, particularly among younger audiences.”