The cultural and social value of audioplays

Participants and winners Hörspielsommer audio script contest Leipzig 2023

Podcasts and audiobooks play a special role in the audio universe. The Hörspielsommer (Audio Play Summer) in Leipzig showcases the creative forms that the audio drama genre employs. Sound collages and experimental pieces were presented to the audience. Text served rather as material/ surface, sound collages as main vehicle. Particularly impactful were emotionally moving scripts in the manuscript competition. Helmut Poppe, who works in radio marketing, explains the „value“ and significance of this form of performing art. Surprisingly, he identifies numerous intersections with the commercial aspect: audio moves the masses, generates high reach, and holds considerable economic value. Creative techniques showcased at events like this can indeed find applications in broadcasting programs and even in radio advertising.

Key criteria

A good audio play, or audiodrama, typically has several key criteria. Firstly, it should have a compelling and well-written script that engages the listener and keeps them interested throughout. The dialogue should be well-crafted and the story should have a clear structure.

Secondly, the voice acting in an audiodrama is crucial. The actors should be skilled at conveying emotions and bringing the characters to life through their voices. A good audiodrama will have a diverse cast of talented actors who can effectively portray the different roles.

Furthermore, sound design plays a significant role in creating an immersive experience. The use of sound effects, music, and ambient sounds should enhance the storytelling and help the listener visualize the scenes. The sound quality should be clear and balanced, ensuring that the dialogue is easily understandable.

Lastly, a good audiodrama should have a strong production value. This includes professional editing, mixing, and mastering to ensure a polished final product. Attention to detail in terms of pacing, timing, and overall production quality is essential for creating a captivating listening experience.

Overall, a good audiodrama combines a well-written script, talented voice acting, immersive sound design, and high production value to create an engaging and enjoyable experience for the listener.

So what’s the cultural and social value of audio plays?

Audio plays hold significant cultural and social value. Here are some key aspects:

  1. Accessibility: Audio plays have the power to reach a wide and diverse audience. They are accessible to individuals with visual impairments or those who prefer consuming content through audio formats. This inclusivity allows people from different backgrounds and abilities to engage with and enjoy the play.
  2. Imaginative Experience: Audio plays stimulate the listener’s imagination by relying solely on sound and dialogue. Without visual cues, listeners are encouraged to create vivid mental images, fostering a unique and personal connection with the story. This imaginative experience can be highly immersive and engaging.
  3. Storytelling Tradition: Audio plays carry on the rich tradition of oral storytelling. Throughout history, oral traditions have played a crucial role in transmitting cultural values, history, and folklore. By utilizing sound, voice acting, and music, audio plays continue this tradition, preserving and promoting stories in a captivating format.
  4. Emotional Connection: The power of voice acting and sound design in audio plays can evoke strong emotions in listeners. Through the nuanced performances of actors and the careful selection of sound effects and music, audio plays can elicit empathy, joy, fear, sadness, and various other emotions. This emotional connection helps listeners relate to the characters and themes, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the story.

Engaging the Imagination: Audio plays require active listening and engagement, prompting listeners to focus solely on the audio and participate mentally in the

  1. narrative. This active engagement enhances cognitive skills, such as attention, concentration, and visualization, and encourages the development of critical thinking and interpretive abilities.
  2. Cultural Representation: Audio plays have the potential to showcase a wide range of voices, perspectives, and cultural experiences. By featuring diverse characters, settings, and stories, they contribute to the representation of marginalized communities and cultures, promoting inclusivity and fostering a greater understanding and appreciation of different backgrounds.
  3. Community Building: Audio plays can be a shared experience, whether through radio broadcasts, podcast episodes, or live performances. They provide opportunities for communal listening and discussion, creating a sense of shared culture and fostering connections among listeners. This communal aspect can be particularly important in fostering dialogue, empathy, and a sense of belonging.

Overall, audio plays combine the power of storytelling, sound design, and accessibility to create a unique cultural and social experience. They engage listeners‘ imagination, promote inclusivity, and contribute to the preservation and dissemination of stories and cultural values.

Market values and revenues

And above all: radio plays have a not inconsiderable economic value. Sales in the audio book market alone amounted to almost € 300 million in Germany in 2022. According to an analysis by media expert Helmut Poppe, the podcast industry generates well under 100 million euros.
Click here for his analysis on and here.

The Leipzig Radio Play Summer 2023 demonstrated with numerous submitted radio plays in the 5th Manuscript Competition once again the broad range of the genre. From rather experimental sound collages created by students of the universities in Gießen and Weimar to emotional stories.
Here is an audio excerpt of a production with the title „In the end everything will be fine …“. Created by Tobias Hahnefeld, Louis Hergenroth, Susanne Altmann, Laureen and Helmut Poppe.

Helmut Poppe, Louis Hergenhahn, Tobias Hahnefeld

Click here for audio excerpt. If you want more send email... or send email

Link to event:

The Hörspielsommer (Audio Play Summer) in Leipzig

Unveiling a hidden face of audio: Discover the public value and unravel the criteria for quality of audioplays. #AudioplayMagic #ImmerseYourself“ #audiobookmarket