If you’re like us, you can’t believe that 2018 is already coming to a close. The past year was a whirlwind of growth for the voice-first industry. Voice Assistant adoption has increased across all devices from smartphones to smart speakers and is only expected to grow in 2019. The proof is in the numbers:

  • Smart speaker usage in the U.S. rose to 22.9% of the adult population (read: 57.8 million people)
  • As of September 2018, U.S. households average 2.2 smart devices, up from 1.8 in January 2018
  • Though smart speakers are on the rise, smartphone use of voice assistants is still king with 90.1 million monthly active users (Voicebot.ai)

With such staggering stats, it is also interesting to take a look at what users are looking for when conducting voice searches.

Us here at Audioburst see the current voice market as full of potential. We spent 2018 developing meaningful partnerships, data-driven products, and growing our company to meet the needs of a global community that is hungry for a more dynamic, contextual, and personalized listening experience.

It was a phenomenal year, and we wanted to take a moment to show you just what we’ve been up to over the past 12 months.

Creating a Voice Ecosystem: A Look at Partnerships and Funding

In this world, you’re nothing without friends. In 2018 Audioburst was proud to announce a host of new strategic partnerships that further our mission of providing companies with the ability to create a more personalized, relevant, screen-free to take audio experience for their customers.

Here are a few of the new collaborations we formed this year:

  • HarmanIntegration of Audioburst’s technology into the Harman Ignite Platform, providing drivers and passengers with access to our extensive audio content library as well as a new personalized “Commute Channel” created on-demand for each listener based on listening identity and driving situation.
  • SamsungAnnounced plans to bring Audioburst Search and our brand of customized on-demand audio to a host of in-home products, beginning with Smart TVs.
  • Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc.Joined together with Nippon Broadcasting to begin the process of localizing Audioburst technology for the Japanese market.
  • TopBuzz / News Republic (Bytedance) / Radioline – Introduced the Audioburst listening experience to these popular platforms.
  • LG ElectronicsUnveiled plans to partner on in-car infotainment, an experience which will feature our latest product offering ‘Audioburst Deep Analysis.’ Expect to hear more about this at CES 2019!

In addition to these strategic partnerships, our financing also rose to $14.4 million through investments by Samsung Ventures ($4.5M) and Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc. ($3M).

There’s No “I” in Team… or Product!

Everyone at Audioburst works hard, but we want to hit pause and give a heartfelt shoutout to our Product and R&D teams. They figure out what the market needs before companies even know they need it and then they translate that into innovative and cutting-edge products for the smarter consumption of audio.

While the list of accomplishments for 2018 is quite long, here are some of the more notable items we launched this year:

  • Audioburst Creators – A platform for content creators containing powerful tools for increased distribution, monetization, and promotion of their content.
  • Audioburst Search – We launched Personalized Playlists and updated the site to allow for search by both ‘burst’ (aka bite-sized audio clip) and ‘show title’.
  • News Feed Skill / Action – Debuted local weather and traffic features, as well as introduced the ‘Personal Playlist’ to the News Feed experience.


  • Audioburst APIs – Announced LG Electronics would be the first to utilize our newest product offering, ‘Audioburst Deep Analysis,’ an API which adds an additional level of metadata categorization and provides a more in-depth understanding of the content being searched for and enjoyed in real-time.

Gaining Momentum: Stats, Growth, and Culture

On a lighter note, we want to share with you some stuff we’re excited about, including accomplishments we’re proud of, our new digs spanning multiple continents, and a few funny bursts that made us smile.

  • New locales as a springboard into new markets – As part of our global expansion, we opened our first offices in New York and Japan, as well as found a new location for our home office in Tel Aviv.

  • Content that goes off the beaten path – You’re probably familiar with most of our content categories, such as Tech, Business, Entertainment, etc. However, you may have missed our newest addition, the ‘Off Beat’ category, bringing you audio that is fun, quirky, and fresh.

We asked the team to share a few of their favorite ‘Off Beat’ bursts from 2018. Check ‘em out!

‘Emotional support’ squirrel and owner ousted from flight:

The Worst Robbers in Belgium:

MIT researchers use Reddit to create the first “psychopath AI”:

And that’s a wrap!

With 2018, winding down, we’ve already set our sights on busy 2019: new and exciting partnerships are soon to be announced, localization of our technology into additional countries and languages, product and feature launches, fresh content sources on the platform, and much, much more.

Our compass points us towards the manner in which we can best help our partners serve the needs of their users. The push to an innately personalized, contextual, data-driven experience is the clear and distinct path forward. In an era of multi-tasking, consumers of content are stingy with their attention. What they choose to ingest must clearly add value to their lives. Content must be relevant to the individual, easily accessible, and to the point.

To fully realize this requirement, a company’s relationship with their customers must be an intimate one. As voice and smart technology continue to embed themselves into our everyday lives, from phones to cars, to microwave ovens, companies are gaining the insights needed to finally build that type of deep bond with their users.

It’s an exciting time for both companies and consumers alike; a promising future lies ahead!


  • This Israeli startup navigates through millions of hours of content from the booming podcast industry
  • Audioburst CEO Amir Hirsh wants to take on the two largest competitors in the smart speaker domain, Google and Amazon, and believes he is building a ‘huge empire’

Irad Atzmon Schmayer on 9.10.2018 in The Marker

Sources: https://www.themarker.com/amp/technation/.premium-1.6544259

More and more people across the world are joining the podcasting trend. Photo: UESLEI MARCELINO – Reuters


Imagine this: You open your favorite radio app, type the words ‘Benjamin Netanyahu’ or ‘Gal Gadot’ into the search field, and you instantly get every soundbite where they’re mentioned in the search results. The app is accessible on your mobile device, through your car’s infotainment system while you’re driving, and via your smart speaker at home while you’re busy with chores.

With the help of sophisticated search engines, today’s mobile devices allow us to find almost every scrap of text, video, or image on the internet in seconds – but return no results if what we’re looking for is hidden in the depths of a podcast or online radio stream. On iTunes alone, there are over 500,000 podcasts with about 18 million episodes. In the US 11,000 commercial radio stations are broadcasting at any one time, but there’s no one organizing the endless chatter.

That’s where Tel Aviv startup Audioburst comes into the picture. The company was founded in 2015 and has developed unique software that transcribes and indexes spoken-word audio into short clips, using its search engine to allow users access through third-party devices like Amazon and Google’s smart speakers.

“Podcasts are cut into individual chapters so we can supply listeners with what we think interests them the most. We provide a much shorter experience with snippets of content that are a few minutes long, instead of an entire episode that could last a whole hour,” says CEO Amir Hirsh.

If you’re planning on skipping between interviews by [Israeli radio host] Arieh Golan to his popular counterpart Razi Barkai, you’ll have to wait. Audioburst is currently available only in English and carries content from the United States and Canada. However, the company has plans to expand: “We’re currently in negotiations with a few British media companies, and we’ve begun to discuss collaborating with them.”

The company is also headed toward the Far East: In May, prominent Japanese media network Nippon Broadcasting invested $3 million in the startup and signed a partnership agreement. Since its founding three years ago, Audioburst has raised more than $14 million.


Audioburst CEO Amir Hirsh defines the company as the “anti-Google.” Photo: Eyal Toueg

How will you convert the technology to Japanese?

Hirsh: “It’s a huge challenge, but the ingenuity of our technology is that it isn’t based on the language the content is created in, but rather on acoustics, machine learning, and statistics. In order to transcribe Japanese, we’re using an automatic speech recognition engine from one of our previous investors in Japan.” Hirsh estimates, “our first commercial product will be complete within six months.”

As every podcast fan knows, the incomes of hosts and producers – who distribute their content for free – relies on advertising and endorsements, which are played during breaks in the episodes. That raises the concern that cutting podcasts into chunks could harm revenue. Hirsh rejects that claim: “We’re providing a simple platform to connect listeners with new podcasts that might interest them. If after listening for a few minutes they’ve heard enough and don’t want to subscribe to the podcast, that wouldn’t help the creator anyway.” According to Hirsh, “Audioburst shares profits with podcast creators for every snippet of audio the listener ‘tastes’.”

Like the streaming music service Spotify, Audioburst’s business model is built on two channels: A premium subscription or a ‘freemium’ model that includes advertisements. “The flagship product that we’re showing the world is our API (a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other), which allows any third-party developer to create a diverse range of products based on the ability to select and stitch together audio clips,” says Hirsh. Each partner can choose which business model they want to use, he adds.


Audioburst: Our first commercial product will be complete within six months.  Photo: Bloomberg

David facing two Goliaths

Since Amazon launched its Echo in 2014, smart speakers have rapidly gained in popularity within the tech world. According to a Gallup poll from March, 22% of Americans have a virtual assistant in their home. According to forecasts by Juniper data analytics, by 2022, 55% of US households will have a smart speaker.

“There’s a massive war going on globally at the moment over voice activation: Google Assistant versus Amazon’s Alexa,” says Hirsh. “They’re battling over which one will operate our household devices and which will be the next operating system. It puts enormous pressure on phone and TV manufacturers, as well as application developers who don’t want either of these two options.”

“If you’re talking to your TV and you say ‘OK Google,’ or ‘Hi Alexa,’ you’re forgetting who created it and the manufacturer’s brand is losing loyalty. So, from the automotive industry to the robotics industry and consumer technology sector, everyone’s hard at work building independent alternatives to the voice-activated operating system,” Hirsh says.

According to Hirsh: “Anyone can manufacture that system. But the unique nature of that system will come from the content. Amazon contends that users will buy consumer items using its voice-operated systems, and in that arena, they have no competition. Google is instead focusing its search capability on content, and it’s leading for now because consumers aren’t rushing to buy products through Alexa.”

The small-scale Audioburst is currently the most prominent competitor facing up against the two giant Silicon Valley corporations, Hirsh claims. “The number of Fortune 500 brands that come to visit our offices is crazy because they’re searching for a different search engine in the audio world. We are the only ones offering an alternative.” Hirsh defines the company as the “anti-Google.” He’s convinced that “it’s not every day in Israel that a startup is founded that people all over the world will be using in the future to consume content. That’s why we think this will be a huge empire.”

Seoul. Apple ushered in the golden age of podcasts. Photo: Ed Jones / AFP

The future of podcasts: Silicon Valley likes the sound

It’s fair to say that Apple ushered in the golden age of podcasts when in 2005 it added podcasts as a category in iTunes. The term podcast is a combination of iPod, (Apple’s music player) and ‘broadcast.’ Fans of the format swore that podcasts were the future of audio, but only recently have investment funds and tech giants fallen in love with the industry, and the money has started to flow.

Last year podcast production company Gimlet raised $20 million and podcast app Castbox swept up more than $25 million between June 2017 and April 2018. Anchor, which allows podcast recording and editing directly from mobile devices, also raised a respectable sum last year: $12 million.

Even Google decided to dive into the world of podcasts, albeit belatedly, when in June it launched its own dedicated podcast-listening app. Last week the search giant announced its intention to join forces with podcast distributor PRX. The two investors will fund and advise 12 new podcasters in order to, in their words, ‘increase diversity.’

Why did the large investments only begin to flow recently? First, the underground nature of podcasts, most of which operate independently and are marketed by “word of mouth,” Secondly, only recently have podcast producers begun to measure the scale of their content distribution. Last December Apple gave podcast creators tools to analyze listening habits and advertising placement. So only after investors were exposed to new information and data analysis did they begin to believe that specific podcasts could be promising – and capable of bearing fruit in a similar manner to innovative startups.

Changing the way you find
the latest news on your favorite topics.

We’re thrilled to announce our new product: Audioburst Search. It’s a search engine for finding, discovering, listening to, and sharing the latest news over audio.

Audioburst Search on iPhone

Audioburst Search, a search engine for the world’s largest audio library.

How does it work?

With Audioburst Search, you can access the world’s largest library of live and pre-recorded podcasts and radio simply by searching a keyword. If you’ve used our skills on Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, it works exactly the same way. Only now, it’s available on web and mobile-optimized web!

Never miss a beat on Jay-Z by typing his name into the search box. You’ll get a feed of the latest radio and podcast streams of industry experts talking all about him.

Stay up to date on the latest political scandal by checking out our “Politics” category feed. You’ll always know the answer to “what did Trump do now?”

Find out the news everyone else is listening to, by clicking on our most popular tags on the Search homepage. You’ll never get left behind on the latest current events.

In addition, each 1-3 minute burst of audio stored in our content library is not only readily retrievable through Audioburst Search but also major search engines like Google, Bing and Safari. While you’re searching on Google for news on your favorite topics, you might just come across one of our audio clips!

Audioburst Search is one more step in the direction towards our mission to organize the world’s audio information. We’re excited to be able to offer the world’s content creators and publishers one more channel to serve their audio content, and we can’t wait to see how you find ways to interact with our new search engine.

We’d love to hear what you think! Try it out, and share your favorite audio streams with us on Twitter and Facebook. If you have feedback, please shoot us a message at info@audioburst.com.

Interested in checking out our API to add on-demand audio content to your own app? Visit our Developers page.

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