Your Poorly Recorded Voice Sounds Perfect

(You can also listen to this post as audio.)

“It doesn’t belong on the web.” This assumption has prevailed throughout much of the internet’s history; if your voice isn’t recorded with a broadcast-quality mic and edited flawlessly in post-production, it doesn’t belong on the web.

We created Spoken to challenge this assumption and encourage anyone with a voice to publish it on the web. To us, your poorly recorded voice sounds perfect. With time, we’re confident it will sound perfect to others, too.

Your voice deserves to be heard.

We’ve Been Here Before

We’ve seen this sort of evolution before. Prior to YouTube, it was a sacrilege to publish poorly produced videos on the web—to say nothing of the technical challenge of doing so. Prior to Instagram, poorly shot photos were a violation of all things holy on the internet.

We expect voice will follow the same evolutionary path as photos and videos. “The medium is the message,” Marshall McLuhan once remarked in his observations about media.¹ With voice, society has been conditioned to expect a level of quality unattainable by most independent producers. Our vision is to reprioritize story as the crux of the medium and its message, and shift quality into a supporting role. Spoken is poised to facilitate this evolution.

As an example of this shift, I intentionally recorded my account of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake using the built-in mic on my iPhone 5, even though I own two broadcast-quality mics (Electro-Voice RE20, Rode NTG3). It’s the story that matters most. If broadcast-quality is then attainable, more power to us all. But that shouldn’t be a roadblock to finding your voice on the web, nor finding the voices of others.

Quality is Still Nice

As our tools improve (notably smartphones), quality will converge with convenience. The ultimate goal is message and quality together as one, attainable by all. We’ll get there eventually.

In the meantime, let your voice be heard.

¹ Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1964.