Recently in Free Children's Audio Books Category
Still, we've been busy and I hope you'll forgive us. Last week we had another sell out live show at the fantastic Bull Theatre in Barnet. It really was a great night - thanks to everyone, especially the children from Foulds School and the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School - who made it such a special occasion.
We've also been witnessing the rise and rise in popularity of our free children's audio book app - Rockford's Rock Opera on the iPhone! We really haven't publicised it at all (other than on the website) but we're now doing 100s of downloads a day from all over the world.
Everyone seems to love the format, although we have had some comments that it 'doesn't employ all the functionality of the iPhone'. That's true of course but then again, it wasn't conceived as an APP. It's really an enhanced audio book story with videos, music and pictures and, as such, its wonderful. It is also quite large - 200meg - so it does need to be downloaded via WiFi.
Still it's a FREE enhanced audio book! And it's Rockford's Rock Opera! So what more do you want?!
There will be more - more interesting - news soon. But for the time being, I have blogged in 2010 and that's an achievement in itself!
We decided to create the read along - the only read along musical story in existence - after loads of requests from parents and teachers who wanted to extend their use of Rockford's Rock Opera. In practice, educators are using all of our materials, swapping between different versions of the story - audio stream, free story download and now, free talkingbook - to find the best use for their current classes.
Then of course, many thousands more people are simply enjoying the story without the education bit! To take a look at our new read along talking book version of Rockford's Rock Opera go here.
And please do let us know any feedback regarding how you're using the site and things we could do to make it even better :)
You may be interested to hear that Matthew will be talking about Rockford's Rock Opera on BBC Radio 4 this Sunday (8th March 2009) 7.15 - 7.45pm.
It's being featured on a programme called Go4it - which, if you miss the radio broadcast, is also available after transmission on the BBCi Player.
And to discover what it's all about, visit:
Because of Rockford's Rock Opera's worldwide success I often find myself speaking to audiences and meetings about the wider issues around the future of audiobooks, downloadable stories and read along stories.
New technology such as the iPhone, faster download speeds and a more tech savvy population (especially amongst children) are all having an impact on how we 'consume' our entertainment and there no doubt that streamed video is the driving force behind many recent innovations. Yet, despite the fact that new technology means that there's more and more possibilities for visual video streaming, audio stories and listen along books continue to grow in popularity.
Anyone who's every enjoyed listening along with an adventure in sound will know why! Quite simply, there's a unique escape to be found in sound waves - a world of imagination and, especially for children, an amazing world of learning. Audio books are great for language acquisition and literacy.
But that's all very well. Sonic tales have been around for years - apart from new means of delivery - iPhones, iPods, Sony Readers and the like - where are the innovations?
Without being too big headed :), Rockford's Rock Opera's multi media approach to on line delivery - not only a story, but also the facts behind the fiction, resources, extra free materials and video content - represents a great model for the future.
On one hand the ecological story can be enjoyed in the ears and in the head. We've spend a great deal of time creating a adventure with sound effects where worlds are created in sound and music but also, we've provided more visual stimulus to go along with the story. So listeners become drawn further into the production and learn more, their imaginations already having been fuelled by the limitless excitement of their imagination.
To know more, simply play chapter one of RRO - it's free audio for children and adults so what are you waiting for? Experience the future of aural entertainment!
Some News from Publishers Weekly Magazine that's worth passing on with regard to Rockford's Rock Opera and our love of the audio adventure format:
In the USA during 2007, sales of spokenword audiobooks rose 12%, to just over $1 billion and the percentage of adults who now listen to audiobooks rose to 28%, according the Audio Publishers Association's annual sale and consumer surveys.
Young listeners are apparently the fastest-growing segment of the market, with the APA reporting that 53% of teenagers have listened to an audiobook. Sales of CDs and downloads increased in the year, while sales of cassettes declined. CDs represented 78% of audiobook sales in 2007, with downloads comprising 17%, up from 14% in 2006.
The car continues to be the place where most people listen to audiobooks the most, with 40% of consumers reporting they listen to audiobooks during long drives and another 18% listen on their commute to work. Twenty-three percent of consumers said listening to audiobooks was a good use of time while doing other activities.
Thanks to the APA and Publishers Weekly for the info. For more visit their websites.
Great. It's a fantastic, classic production.
But it was made thirty years ago. Nothing wrong with that either perhaps. But why, when computer technology has brought high quality audio production within the grasp of every project studio, are there no more Hitchhikers-style adventures in sound? It seems to me that the phrase 'audio book' now means no more than an actor or author in a studio reading a book.
Hitchhiker is so much more than this - a wonderful story, of course, but also a real adventure in sound with narration, characters, music and sound effects.
The answer to the lack of creativity is certainly lack of budget... and laziness. Producing complete audio adventures is a real undertaking. A labour of love and, I'm afraid, commercial pressures make few allowances for the sort of dedication required.
Unless of course you're mad enough to have locked yourself in a darkened room for three years to produce one! Rockford's Rock Opera is our unique adventure in sound. If you love Hitchhiker, you'll love this too (so will your kids) and, because it's written by Steve Punt, there's a Douglas Adams connection there too. Part One is free so you can judge for yourself!
This blog will tell the story of how Rockford's Rock Opera is now reaching out, with a free audiobook, from our attic to the world.