There was a time when Audioboom wanted to be part of the close-knit circle of social media giants Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Ever since its inception, the spoken-word audio platform has been adamant that it would soon disrupt— or “reinvent”—radio.
In 2009, the company known then as Audioboo was launched. It was promising since no one ever braved the ever-expanding social media market with only spoken-word audio as its weapon. Spoken word meant no music, just words. It was the year of microblogging and photoblogging, the reign of iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud, the nascent years of music streaming.
Audioboo’s decision to advertise itself as the sole spoken-word provider in the online world did not sound palatable to many at that time. Yes, it had notable content partners, most of which are giant UK broadcasting networks, but it remained in the shadows of its ‘competitors.’
Like any other small companies, Audioboo had some financial problems, too. For a year it sounded as though the brand was going nowhere but downhill. And, just like any struggling, small social media brand, it would just vanish without a trace. But the AIM-listed company rebounded, rebranded, and soon the name Audioboom gradually became synonymous to spoken-word audio content.
Now, Audioboom is the sole destination for anything spoken-word audio. On April 20, 2015, the company announced that it has now 3.6 million registered users after adding more than 200,000 users and 150 content partners in March alone.
“A significant number of companies have now signed up to advertising campaigns associated with Audioboom content including McDonald's, Burger King, Walmart and Progressive Insurance,” CEO Rob Proctor told the Financial Times.
But the company admits that the number skyrocketed only after inking a deal with Russell Brand, Britain’s most popular, controversial, political, and bankable celebrity today.
Proctor hired Brand with one clear intention in mind: to reposition the brand, to make it edgier, and to cater to the younger audiences. At this point in time, tapping Russell Brand seems to be the most ideal way. Audioboom’s content partners are mostly international broadcasting firms—BBC, Al Jazeera, CNN—which catered mainly to adults and businessmen.
But it’s also worth mentioning that Audioboom was nothing of a failing business endeavour before Brand started his twice-weekly podcast show on the platform.
The £40 million-worth company has already expanded into audiobook industry when it signed a distributorship deal with Audiobook, the Amazon-owned audio book producer and vendor. Also, Audioboom’s US invasion dream has already been accomplished and surpassed, as it was already enjoying decent attention in Australia, India, and some parts of Asia.
In February, Audioboom has already pre-sold 900,000 ad spots and Arden projects sales of £3m for 2015. It was also planning to deal with a personalised in-car online radio service, which would put the company into more than 20 million automobiles in 2016.
As to whether Brand is really Audioboom’s lucky charm, well, it is no longer important. Brand has enhanced the revenue and reputation of the Audioboom. What’s important is the spoken-word audio platform is getting bigger, surpassing targets, and slowly breaking records.
And who doesn’t love Russell Brand? Audioboom needs his brain and charisma, and so does the entire social media world.