Sound design resources for audio tours

It’s not just a great story that makes a tour. Tasteful sound design and the right choice of music can go a long way to helping bring your tour to life and further immerse your listener in the journey you’re taking them on.

But knowing where to find the right royalty-free sound or track is not easy if you don’t know where to look. So we’ve put together a list of resources where you can find great sounding, useable and best of all, free material.

Once you have the sounds or music you want, you can email them over to your editor. Our audio editors will edit and mix in the sounds for you.

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Gentrification in Woodstock & Salt River: Answers from the City

Below are questions, which were sent to the City of Cape Town as part of research for the A Community in Crisis: Gentrification in Woodstock and Salt River  tour. The responses were too long to include in the audio tour in full, so we are posting them here for those who would like further details. There’s also a gentrification reading list here.  

In the City of Cape Town’s 2008 social housing progress report, it states that at least three sites in Woodstock and Salt River – Pickwick Road, Dillon Lane, and the Salt River Market – will be developed into social housing by 2011. Why haven’t they been completed yet?

Councillor Benedicta van Minnen, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements:

This has been an extremely complicated situation, primarily, as it involves the well-being of existing residents. As you will appreciate, a significant challenge in the precinct is how to deal with the low income, and indigent, households that are presently living in the area, usually in an informal manner. In some instances these households have lived in the area for many years. However, the existence of the informal housing is delaying the possible development of formal, affordable rental opportunities on some sites. This situation is, however, not only happening in this precinct but in other parts of the City’s Transport-Oriented Development corridors, such as in the metro south-east corridor, where the intent is to encourage medium and high density affordable rental developments.

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VoiceMap as an interactive learning tool

Earlier this year a primary school teacher from Saint John’s school in Puerto Rico used our platform to create a tour with her Grade 6 class. Gabriella Centeno and her Social Studies students published an audio tour of the historic centre of old San Juan. Using their imagination, the students brought the buildings to life. This enabled the structures to share their own stories, regaling passers-by with their rich history and tumultuous pasts.

Gabriella and her colleague, Pilar Álamo, found us while looking for ways to make learning more interactive. They wanted to be able to link historical content with modern media so as to grab their students’ attention. A location-aware audio tour provided the solution.

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Exploring Singapore’s street art scene with Jaclynn Seah

Jaclynn Seah is a Singaporean girl and an occasional traveller. She loves exploring less popular cities off the tourist map and hunting for street art.

VoiceMap: Do you see potential for apps and other new technology to engage new audiences in Singapore’s street art?

Jaclynn: Singapore’s street art scene is relatively small and unknown – it’s not what you think of at all when you think about visiting Singapore! But visitors are starting to look beyond our typical tourist attractions, and for the independent traveller who likes discovering new things, apps and new technology like VoiceMap are a perfect fit as they allow users the freedom of choice and self discovery in their travels. This is especially important around the arts, which is a pretty subjective topic and different people engage with it in such varied ways.

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Discovering New Orleans’ past, present and future with Denise Altobello

Denise Altobello is a writer, traveller, teacher and author who grew up in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. When she’s not travelling, she’s exploring her neighbourhood, and her new audio walking tour of the Tremé will give you a window into what she has found.

VoiceMap: Do you see potential for apps and other new technology to engage new audiences in aspects of New Orleans’ culture and history?

Denise: Without a doubt, I see where recent and emerging technologies are truly offering opportunities to explore New Orleans culture and history in novel ways. I’m a traveler and a writer. For me, nothing beats meeting locals on their own turf when I travel. Their voices, their accents, their stories become part of my travel experience. So, on one hand, I would hope that audio tourists drop those earbuds whenever they have the good fortune to interact with real, in-the-flesh characters; on the other hand, I love wandering around new places on my own, soaking in the sights, sounds and smells. That’s where audio touring is such a boon. The voice of a local whispering in my ear and guiding me along a path is pretty darned enticing.

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How to Effectively Link to Your Audio Tour Online

There are a few things you can do to maximise the effectiveness of a link to your audio tour so that it helps bring in search traffic from Google. Think of this post as a very brief beginners guide to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Keywords are key

The text that you use to link to your audio tour in an article, blog post, or press release influences how easily people find your tour in a Google search. Using a plain URL (www.voicemap.me, for instance) or the word “here” does very little to help people find your tour using Google. Instead, try and identify the most effective link text.

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How to Create Promotional Content for your Audio Tour

There are plenty of different types of promotional content that will help you boost your audio tour’s sales. Read on for four that are effective and easy to create.

Q&As

Q&As are a great way to communicate a bit about who you are, why you created your audio tour, and what people will get out of the experience. They’re also quick to put together, and often easier to get published elsewhere than press releases.

We’ve come up with a handful of questions to save you time (and spare you the awkwardness of having a Q&A session with yourself!) Answer the questions that appeal most, add an introductory sentence or two, and you’re ready to send the finished product to blogs or publications that may like to publish it. Don’t forget to add a link to your tour on appropriate keywords.

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Creative and Time-Efficient Ways to Promote your Audio Tour

In Cape Town, the locations along several of our city centre routes are intriguingly marked with geotag-shaped stickers, and it really gets people talking. The stickers invite passers-by to “listen to stories from the District Six Museum” – or The Book Lounge, or Mogalakwena Gallery – and list a couple of the audio walks that feature this particular location, with instructions for downloading them.

The businesses and organisations we approach are generally thrilled to hear that they are already included (at no cost) in the commentary of a walk that passes right by their door. In those cases, placing a custom-made sticker in their window is a win-win situation – assuming that the commentary is flattering, of course.

Location-aware audio connects a voice to a place. The real trick is finding ways to inform people that the voice – and the story – exists. Stickers, posters and signage are among the most effective ways of doing that.

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4 Questions that your Press Release Should Answer

Audio tour apps are exciting and new, so getting websites and other publications to run a press release or article about yours shouldn’t be difficult. Press releases are a great way of communicating to specific audiences, and editors are often happy to have the work taken out of writing something themselves.

We’ve done our best to take some of the work out of the process for you, too. Read on to find plenty of examples from press releases – which you can reword to reflect your own personality – along with the four essential questions that a press release promoting your audio tour should answer.

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9 Tips for Sharing Your VoiceMap

If you’ve ever shared something you created online, you’ll probably have experienced the positive network effects for yourself. But how do you go beyond your personal sphere of influence, and into the world? VoiceMap’s major sources of both visitors and customers are Facebook and Twitter, and here we give you a few tips on how to optimize your interactions on social media.

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We’re Hiring: Business Development Manager, Hong Kong

Position: Business Development Manager
Starting Date: Immediately
Salary: Basic plus commission, negotiable

About Us

VoiceMap is a publishing platform and marketplace for immersive audio tours. Our iPhone and Android apps make the medium simple by using GPS to synchronise playback, making sure that you hear about the Chungking Mansions when you’re looking at Chungking Mansions. Our publishing tool and team of editors open up fresh opportunities for storytellers and tourist attractions across the world.

About the Role

VoiceMap is currently looking for a business development manager in Hong Kong. This is a sales-focused role, centred on establishing partnerships with popular tourist attractions as well as organisations involved in tourism in Hong Kong and Mainland China, eventually extending into Japan. But we are also looking for someone who can help us to grow a healthy, well balanced marketplace that serves these partners, our end users, and our community of storytellers equally well.

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Revolution Route at First Thursdays

The Revolution Route is a journey through the stories of revolution birthed in Cape Town, from Mandela and Sobukwe, through Kgosana, Gool and Massavana. Part poetry, part history, all revolution.

You’ll need an iPhone and headphones. Download VoiceMap from the App Store, and use it to purchase the route (R49.99) before you arrive. (It’ll be available for download from Tuesday.)

Meet up with fellow revolutionaries at the statue of King Edward VII on the Grand Parade at 6pm. The walk finishes at Church Square, where VoiceMap is participating in the Open Cities event.

  • When: 6pm
  • Where: Meet at the statue of King Edwards VII on the grande Parade
  • Price: R49.99
  • Bring along: iPhone and headphones

The Revolution Route is one of VoiceMap’s Cape Town walking tours.