Image Credit: iHeartRadio

A press release from American audio company iHeartMedia announced at least ten new binaural audio shows are coming to iHeartRadio.

Over the last couple of year, companies such as Spotify, Apple, Amazon and SiriusXM have heavily invested in podcasts, with acquisitions for exclusive shows from big personalities and podcast networks. Music, podcast and radio platform iHeartRadio are looking to grab users’ attention by changing the recording technique itself.

Binaural audio or 3D audio is recorded using two microphones, often places inside a dummy’s ears. When heard through headphones, the volume in each ear as well as the millisecond’s delay between ears allows listeners to mentally visualise the physical position of the sound. Binaural audio places listeners in the room of a recording to give a more immersive experience.

iHeart 3D Audio brings binaural audio to their podcast platform, introducing the immersive experience to stories and sponsored messages. While there’s currently only a trailer, iHeart hopes to have 10-12 shows and live radio events with 3D audio by the end of 2021. iHeart 3D Audio is made with American film and television series company Blumhouse Productions, as well as podcast creator and producer Aaron Mahnke. iHeart have built three studios dedicated to recording binaural audio and employed 12 producers trained in 3D audio capturing.

I think a lot more should be in 3D audio than is. And so as we look across the slate of shows we have from A-to-Z, across 2021, most of those, there’s a 3D audio version that’s probably better than what [we’re] doing normally.
I think 3D audio to make a new kind of a 30-60-two minute ad could really kind of — I’m not going to suggest will reinvent podcast advertising — but could definitely push it further toward immersion, so we’re going to offer that.

Conal Byrne, president of the iHeartPodcast Network to The Verge

Binaural audio is accessible by anyone with any pair of headphones and a smartphone, but can iHeart turn the “oh, that sounds cool” into users coming back week after week to hear new episode? Hopefully this will help creators stand out among so many new podcasts.