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From the Tech Desk
The Publishing World Gets First Streaming Service
Back in April, I wrote about how the publishing world could stand to learn a few things from the music industry. In that particular article, I theorized that the rise of eBook subscription services like Scribd, Oyster, and Entitle would drive the publishing industry toward a digital “access over ownership model,” just as streaming services like Spotify and Rdio have done for the music industry. I did not think, however, about the idea of an actual literary-minded audio streaming service, a service that would use the same basic model as something like Spotify, but with the core content being audiobooks and eLearning courses instead of songs and albums. Interestingly, though, that’s exactly the kind of service that Skybrite wants to be.
Max Simon, the co-founder and Vice President of Development for Skybrite, describes the service as a “first-of-its-kind streaming non-music audio service.” The streaming market has become an incredibly lucrative and incredibly crowded one in recent years. Companies like Google, Amazon, and especially Apple (with their new Beats Music partnership) are all trying to break into music streaming by offering services similar to what is already available. No less crowded is the video streaming market, which is dominated by the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
Skybrite, meanwhile, is carving out a niche of its own in the world of content streaming, and they’re doing it by simply offering a completely different kind of content than most of their competitors. Publishers, authors, and readers will be most intrigued by Skybrite’s extensive audiobook library. Indeed, the service has already signed “multi-year distribution agreements” with 500 content providers, many of which are noted authors and publishers. From kids books to young adult bestsellers, all the way to memoirs and biographies from some of today’s most recognizable figures, the Skybrite audiobook library is stacked.
This service isn’t just about audiobooks, though. On the contrary, the people behind Skybrite are shooting for universal appeal here, and that is reflected in the extensive and eclectic list of content providers they have assembled. Content from authors and publishers is just a small portion of what the Skybrite service has to offer. There are also audio courses, celebrity interviews, meditation and hypnosis sessions, audio theater, spiritual talks, and even stand-up comedy recordings. As you can see, the category of “non-music audio” is a broad one, and Skybrite is looking to capitalize on every nook and cranny of that category.
“We love music, movies and television programs, but audio entertainment and audio learning is a completely different experience,” Simon said, explaining the appeal of Skybrite’s catalog. “You can learn something new while you exercise. You can get lost in a story while you cook. Or you can simply close your eyes and unwind. It stimulates you in ways that other media doesn’t.”
Even if Skybrite is breaking new ground as far as streaming content is concerned, though, the basics behind the service won’t be too unfamiliar for anyone who has used a program like Spotify in the past. A monthly subscription fee of $9.99 buys customers full access to every title and recording in the Skybrite library. These recordings can be streamed from anywhere and at anytime, whether you are listening on a desktop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. Subscribers are also treated to perks like “Staff Picks,” which helps to consistently highlight new, quality content for listeners.
And then there’s auto-bookmarking, which is arguably Skybrite’s coolest feature. With auto-bookmarking, Skybrite always remembers where you left off in an audio book or eLearning course. Even if you move from one device to another in the middle of listening, you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off.
Interested in learning more about the Skybrite audio streaming service? Visit the company’s website at www.skybrite.com to find out about the perks to the service, read customer reviews, or start a free trial. The trial version of Skybrite lasts for seven days and gives you full access to the service’s content library during that time. You don’t even need a credit card to set up a trial, and can create an account using Facebook. After those seven days, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to pay for the $9.99 monthly subscription. Just make sure you download the Skybrite app—available from both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store—in order to get the full effect of this “listen anywhere” service.
Craig Manning is currently studying English and Music at Western Michigan University. In addition to writing for IndependentPublisher.com, he maintains a pair of entertainment blogs, interns at the Traverse City Business News, and writes for Rockfreaks.net and his college newspaper. He welcomes comments or questions concerning his articles via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.