|Cost and Development Philosophy|
Like SoundCloud, Audioboo offers tiered pricing. Audioboo will host recordings (or “boos” as they call them) of 3 minutes or less for free. They offer a high level account which allows recordings up to 30 minutes for 65 British pounds/year as well as a corporate solution which can be customized.
|Local Installation or Hosted Solution|
“We are a mobile & web platform that effortlessly allows you to record and share audio for your friends, family or the rest of the world to hear.” (source)
|Use on SpokenWeb Project|
We have not used Audioboo on the SpokenWeb project.
The geolocation aspect of Audioboo is something we would like to build into the SpokenWeb, so that users could, for example, browse poetry recordings via their place of recording or some other geographic criteria (e.g. the poet’s birth place). The mobile recording feature could also be useful for open archives (i.e. to which new recordings were being added) and for rapid distribution of both audio and corresponding images from live events.
Audioboo clearly puts an emphasis on mobile recording and social sharing. They make it very easy to record audio in any form (music, interviews, podcasts, poetry, ambient noise, etc.) using a mobile device and to distribute it privately or publicly through a variety of different options (on their site, on a social networking site like Facebook or Twitter, or on a blog or website using their embed code option).
Given the recording length restrictions of the two levels of accounts (3 minutes and 30 minutes, respectively) any serious audio archive would need to investigate their corporate solution, for which they do not publicly provide pricing information.
Their mobile app supports both field recording and geo-sensitive browsing so that you can, for example, listen to audio “boos” (i.e. recordings) of other nearby users. The mobile app is very well designed and fun to use. As for poetry, it seems that it would be particularly useful for recording and distributing poetry on the fly or at live events. Given the time limits of the lower level accounts, it might be particularly well suited to promotion. For example, for making small recordings of poetry or other ambient audio that you could distribute online in order to encourage people to go hear something in person for themselves; or to simply sample something that they could not or would not otherwise be able to hear.
Finally, Audioboo also has an application programming interface (API) that they make available.
2 projects from the British Library are UK SoundMap and Evolving English. These projects from the British Library involved inviting participants (i.e., “crowdsourcing”) to record either ambient sounds or speech, respectively, using mobile phones that have the free Audioboo app installed. The Audioboo software automatically adds metadata to the file (e.g., time and geolocation of the recording, using information from the mobile phone) and uploads it to the Audioboo site. As long as participants had tagged their recording in a specific way, the British Library was able to harvest the recording and make it available through their own site.
Interestingly, Sheffield University is already using material from the Evolving English project for research on English dialects. We thought think that this is a nice demonstration of how these new mobile audio recording and publishing technologies are already being used, and how they are generating recordings that are useful for new research.
Audioboo seems to be doing well with a strong user base and support from a variety of broadcasters and newspapers (e.g., The BBC and The Guardian). They seem much more regional than SoundCloud, for example, and it will be interesting to see how they develop.