We are astonished to learn that more than 40 million people have tried out the ViPER 4 Audio Effect. Audio effect is a field unfamiliar to the general public filled with confusing jargon. It’s usually an obsession of a small number of mixing technicians and nerdy music fans. So how did ViPER 4 lower the technical barrier of audio effect and introduce it to the general public? Let’s investigate this fascinating case.
The first level of demand: audio quality
Not being able to understand the technicals behind audio effects doesn’t mean there’s no demand for it. Historically, die-hard music fans have been spending tens of thousands of yuans on audio equipment for the best possible sound quality.
Heading into the era of MP3s, fans lament over the loss of detail in the music. That’s why vinyl made a comeback in recent years. ViPER’s 3D + Hi-Fi technology can compensate for the loss of detail and high notes of mp3 audio files. It also has specific audio effects tailor-made for a large number of speakers and headphones that can provide the users with the best listening experiences across all devices.
The second level of demand: experience, social and identity
Users left a large number of encouraging comments on ViPER 4:
“I’ve been addicted to ViPER lately. Nothing sounds good without the 3D effect on ViPER.”
“I close my eyes, and I forget where I physically am. It just feels like I’m clubbing in a KTV.”
“Music runs through my ears like water.”
Five years ago, KuGou collaborated with ViPER to launch an in-App audio effect function that enables users to enjoy high-quality sound without professional equipment. The effects included 3D, Super Bass, Pure Voice, Outdoor Arena, etc. Many fans started sharing their DIY audio effects in the comment area.
In response to the enthusiasm from fans, the ViPER 4 team launched a user-generated audio effect feature in 2018. This “5.0” version provides tools for users to create their own audio effects and apply for a “mixing master” certification. The number of audio effects skyrocketed since then. Now there are more than 10,000 audio effects on ViPER. Car-specific audio effects alone account for 1018 of them, and the comment areas for these even became a community forum for car lovers. Fans also repurposed many audio effects for podcasts and audiobooks.
So far, the most exciting by-product of this new UGC feature has been the audio effect playlist. Many users are eager to share with others which songs match with which audio effects. The good ones among them not only get praised among the fellow users but also KuGou’s official certification as “playlist masters.”
The success story of ViPER 4 taught us a valuable lesson on how to widen a niche market: dig deep into user’s psychological needs, nurture the online community, and increase user engagement by giving them creative tools. In a more mature and professional future music market, this lesson would grow more and more relevant.
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