Pro Audio Trends to Watch for in 2021 and Beyond
Right now, we’re in the middle of an incredibly exciting time in the world of media, especially when it comes to advancing technology and creative trends in audio production. From amateur audio engineers to pro-level programmers, just about anyone interested in audio can find new ways to experiment, create, edit, and learn.
It’s no secret that the field of audio production is always evolving, which makes staying on top of trends all the more important.
Professional Audio Trends Taking the Industry by Storm
In recent years, a new wave of tech, products, and mediums are catching the attention of industry pros in particular. A desire to be more creative than ever seems to be driving the majority of these trends, especially as quickly-growing numbers of new users join the community.
Here are our picks for the trends to watch now and in the future of the innovative industry of media:
Trend 1: Publisher content is becoming a major part of the industry.
More and more publishers, including news publications and written content producers, are understanding how audio can help them reach a larger and increasingly diverse audience. As a result, a massive amount of publisher content in audio format is holding ground in the industry.
This content goes beyond podcasts, representing a larger effort to make audio (specifically, spoken word content) a foundational part of daily communications. Expect to see digital audio continue to grow, as new users utilize it for their primary means of consuming content. At the same time, smart speakers are finding their way into a fast-growing number of homes. With a significant percentage of digital audio delivered via smart speakers, they have become a staple in many people’s everyday routines.
Trend 2: Streaming audio quality is taking big steps forward.
In the past, broadcasters haven’t exactly led the charge when it comes to high-quality audio. But thanks to streaming, streamed audio can be more easily improved across the board. Now, pro audio creatives have access to mixing environments and immersive audio tools, opening up a new world of sonic elements.
And it does not just feature films that will have the advantage of streaming audio; every kind of programming can now utilize it. We’re seeing more projects produced in surround sound, alongside higher bit rates. People no longer need to go to a theater to experience first-class sound quality; in fact, the immersive theatrical audio experience is now available on personal computers.
As we move forward, immersive sound production technology is going to get even more affordable. Simultaneously, the role of audio pros will transition from purely technical to much more creative, as people better understand the value of storytelling through sound.
Trend 3: Immersive sound is impacting new arenas, including personal devices and channels, as well as music.
When it first emerged, immersive sound technology was generally limited to virtual and augmented reality experiences. However, a broad range of new applications have been found, and immersive audio is proving to be an incredible medium for creating an all-encompassing experience. We wouldn’t be surprised to see 360-degree audio become standard in all devices and channels, from theaters to your headphones, laptops, mobile devices, and smart speakers at home.
Music is also seeing a shift spurred by immersive audio technology. Artists, producers, and other industry creatives are blurring the lines between music and sound effects. Some of the biggest musical hits in the past year or two have been exceptional examples of experimentation.
Trend 4: Cloud technology and A/V networking are continuing to expand.
When we take a look at the technical side of audio, cloud technology isn’t going anywhere – and that’s a good thing. Instead, developments will continue to support pro audio needs, including collaboration, archiving, storage, and backups. The ability to work anywhere, anytime while maintaining access to files via a secure server is no longer a luxury, it’s an expectation.
A/V networking will also keep growing, moving closer to a future in which everything exists on converged data and media networks. Ideally, the industry will continue the process of refining A/V networking solutions that are scalable and adaptable to suit future needs.
Trend 5: Bluetooth audio is making moves to claim new territory in the headphone market.
In January of 2020, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group debuted the LE (Low Energy) Audio standard, specifically for Bluetooth audio. It’s the next step up from Bluetooth 5.0, and its key feature is Broadcast Audio. With this feature, users will gain the ability to share audio universally.
Finally, it seems that Bluetooth audio has been established as a viable solution in professional audio. Bluetooth gear has advanced to the point of meeting professional industry standards, including new headphones that can be effectively used for pro audio monitoring.
The new Bluetooth standard is a triple threat of better battery life, higher sound quality, and multiple stream technology. It also provides a new audio codec called Low Complexity Communications Codec, which boasts increased quality and low power needs. Finally, it sets up a universal system for audio, allowing for a wider range of devices, headphones, and even hearing aids.
When you consider the ways in which Bluetooth is proving itself as a pro-level technology, it makes sense to expect Bluetooth LE Audio to have a notable impact on the traditional wired headphone market in the coming years.
Take Your First Steps Towards a Career as an Audio Professional
Odds are, if you’re someone with an interest in audio production trends, you have a passion for the industry. Your passion, combined with a media-centered education, can help propel you towards an exciting and fulfilling career in the field of audio production.
If you’d like to turn your interest in audio into a full-time job, then we’d love to have you join us at the Media Schools of Miami, Illinois, Colorado, and Ohio. Our student body is full of creative individuals just like you, people who are passionate about media and the role it plays in our fast-paced world. In our audio production program, you can build the skills and experience you’ll need to stand out in a competitive industry. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a real studio – there’s no better place to dive right into your dream future.
Don’t just read about the latest trends in audio production, experience them in person. Begin your professional journey when you contact our team for more information about applications and enrollment today!
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