Australian-founded app VoiceByte, and iHeartMedia, the US audio company boasting "the largest reach of any radio or television outlet in America", have announced "a new strategic partnership that includes VoiceByte’s technology being incorporated into iHeartMedia’s top-rating radio, digital, live events and TV programmes".
Under this new agreement, iHeartMedia will also take a part-ownership stake in the game-changing voice recording app.
Supporting the emerging app, "audio content (or 'bites') will created by the audience through VoiceByte and will be integrated into Ryan Seacrest’s 'American Top 40' and 'On Air With Ryan Seacrest' his market-topping #1 nationally-syndicated LA morning drive-time show for iHeartMedia’s 102.7 KIIS-FM. This will allow listeners to ask guest celebrities a question during an interview or engage with Seacrest on various talk topics".
This effectively turns a smartphone into a media microphone, with the VoiceByte app allowing "users to record and share personalised and engaging audio content via their smartphones, and within seconds, allow that content to be curated and broadcast on iHeartMedia's programmes".
As part of the agreement, iHeartMedia will "extensively market and promote the app across the US where millions of listeners will be encouraged to download VoiceByte to enable them to interact with their favourite programmes".
VoiceByte was successfully unveiled and integrated into the iHeartRadio Music Festival recently held in Las Vegas, where its patented geo-location technology was used to help participating brands engage with fans in a fresh, fun and innovative way.
Joe Robinson, president of iHeartMedia Ventures, said: "Our support in VoiceByte shows our commitment to technology-driven innovation. We are always looking for more ways to further engage with our listeners and VoiceByte puts a microphone in their pockets allowing them to actively participate with their favourite on-air personalities and programmes.
“We believe VoiceByte is a great new asset for engagement and a game-changer for broadcasters.”
VoiceByte says it will give iHeartMedia, and other future media partners, access to its patent-pending dashboard. This aggregates and filters VoiceByte audio files for producers to download and play on air, and provides detailed audience data including sentiment and location data, helping content-makers better understand their audiences.
VoiceByte chief executive and co-founder Michael Fenech said: "We believe your voice is the most powerful instrument in the world and we wanted to give the audience a tool to help them use that instrument to express themselves and literally be a part of the show. We are proud that iHeartMedia shares this vision and that they will be playing an integral part in helping us to globalise VoiceByte.
“The change in audience engagement is perhaps best symbolised through the integration on Ryan Seacrest programmes. His American Top 40 programme has been a staple of American pop-culture for close to 50 years and has always moved with the times. It is a big statement that VoiceByte will be a part of this programme’s future,” he added.
VoiceByte chief technology officer Stephen Fenech said: "The way we are interacting with media and the way we receive our news and information is rapidly changing. Our thinking was to give the audience a way to be a part of their favourite programmes and the social media conversation at the same time by using the device that’s by their side around the clock, their mobile phones.
“VoiceByte gives people a chance to emotionally engage with their favourite programmes, and have their say in under 20 seconds without having to call an open line, wait on hold or send emails. They can interact from anywhere in the world to become part of the conversation on radio and TV shows, podcasts or live events.” he added.
More information is at VoiceByte here.