Earplay Hires Former Imgur COO, Shifts Business Model to Software Tools
Earplay announced today that former Imgur executive Matt Strader has joined the company as chief operating officer (COO). The new hire also marks a change in Earplay’s business model emphasizing the potential of its technology. Earplay is well known for its prowess in high-end voice interactive content creation, but is now shifting its focus away from creative services and toward licensing software to streamline voice app development for other organizations building voice experiences.
Earplay is best known for the games and interactive audio content it has created in partnership with other companies. The company worked with Universal to build a Jurassic World choose-your-own-adventure Alexa skill-based game last year and has created audio content for Mr. Robot and other popular brands since it was founded six years ago.
Strader served the same role at Imgur that he now holds at Earplay. Even before his seven years at Imgur, he was working in the tech and software space.
“I’ve been involved with the internet since the days when people thought the phone book was a good way to find a business,” Strader told Voicebot in an interview. “And then I got into social media early on. I’m looking forward to now leveraging Earplay’s audio technology with our partners.”
New Business Model
“Earplay has always been about producing great content,” Strader said. “I’ve been a great admirer of what the tech team has created over the years. Now our new business model brings the tech to the forefront.”
Strader explained that the company’s business model will shift, expanding partnerships and licensing its software rather than making each product individually. That partnership system has already seen some success. Digital education company Capstone used Earplay’s tech to create Alexa skills for 12 interactive story bundles in its You Choose book series. Capstone was able to publish the skills and their more than 50 hours of audio content in around 90 days.
“Technology has always been a big part of the company,” said Earplay CEO Jon Myers. “As the company has grown, our goal has been to stay innovative. That’s why we adapted [the platform] for what people want so they can create much faster. “Our tech is a great end-to-end solution.”
Earplay already has other publishers lined up to apply its technology toward making audio skills and content. In particular, their focus is on the higher end of the market, with established brands and premium content people are willing to pay for.
“There’s a lot of noise about how many skills are being built, but the quality ones [are rarer],” Strader said. “People don’t focus on the quality of the skills, but Earplay makes it easy to build really great creative skills. Before, the services led and the tech followed. Now the tech leads things.”