Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A-Z of Free Online Stuff - 1. Audioboo

Image from Cathy Stanley-Erickson, under a CC
Attribution-NoDerivs licence
OK, so here's the start of (hopefully!) 26 useful things that can be found on the Internet for free. And we start with...

A is for Audioboo

Audioboo is a rather nice website for recording and distributing audio. It's been around since 2009, and allows users to record or upload short pieces of audio (up to three minutes in length - sadly this has been recently slashed from five) which the site (slightly annoyingly) calls 'Boos'. Apps can be downloaded for Android and iPhone that allow you to record your Boos on your phone and upload them on the fly.

These Boos can then be linked to, shared on the usual social networks, or embedded into a website, with an automatically created RSS feed meaning it is quick and easy to produce downloadable podcasts for your listeners. Users can also find your Boos via the website, and also by searching everyone's uploads to Audioboo.

There are downsides to Audioboo. The three minute limit will prevent it from being useful in all circumstances, and there are no privacy settings, meaning all Boos would need to be available for all to find, listen to and download. This would severely restrict its use for some purposes, such as student feedback.

However, for a quick and easy way to record quick, pithy podcasts, that are very easy to distribute, it's superb.

For those wanting more functionality, there is a paid-for AudiobooPlus, which allows for a 30 minute limit, as well as a few extras such as Facebook Pages integration and enhanced iTunes categorisation. It costs £60 a year. A "lite" version of this is in the pipeline, allowing for ten minutes at a lower fee.

Stephen Fry has been a vocal advocate of Audioboo, and the BBC and Guardian are among the businesses that have channels on the site, so as well as creating your own material there's plenty of decent Boos to have a listen to. Below is an example from BBC Radio 4 Today.


  1. Great idea, Pete, to write an A-Z of technologies. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with for some of the letters!

    I found this post interesting, having just worked with students on a project for which many of them used audio.

    Following the session that you very kindly delivered for us, most of the students used SoundCloud to host their clips. So, I wonder if you could share your thoughts on the pros and cons of using these two platforms. Are there reasons why/circumstances when either tool is preferable, in your view?


  2. I'm looking forward to what I come up with some of the letters too!

    Soundcloud was probably best for your purposes because of the longer time limit, and you can also add privacy settings. However it has quite a strict limit on how much you can host there in the free account. Audioboo allows you (I believe) to have unlimited Boos, but they have to be 3 mins or less. It also has RSS feed capabilities, which Soundcloud doesn't.

    So I'd recommend Soundcloud if you have longer pieces of audio, but don't require a massive archive of stuff, and also if you require privacy settings. I'd recommend Audioboo if you've got lots of short pieces of audio, especially if you want to distribute it periodically via RSS as a podcast.

    1. Thanks, Pete. This makes a lot of sense, and I can now see why you might want to use both the SoundCloud and Audioboo services.

      The issue of SoundCloud only allowing a limited number of sounds to be stored created an issue for us when we tried to pull all the recordings into a single account at the end (for archive reasons, in case students deleted them from their own accounts).


  3. I'm a massive fan of Audioboo - been using it for a couple of years, and have captured some cracking stuff, the long term plan is to turn it into a one hour Orb styled field recording ambient album lol



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