Evoca Sounds Off to Odeo

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Savannah, Georgia based Evoca’s new service to record and publish voice recordings has a number of features that allow it to stand out from the “click, record” crowd. I have been in contact with founders Muren Sharpe and Diego Orjuela since December, and tonight they gave me a complete overview of the service.

This young space is already crowded – competitors include Odeo, Springdoo, YackPack, Waxmail and others (of these, Odeo clearly has the branding lead). I can see each of these companies struggling to find the right business model, feature mix and consumer messaging. Evoca has a strong case for getting it at least mostly right.

And just to get it out of the way – what I consider to be the killer feature to pull ahead of the crowd, and of course what none of these companies have yet, are even simple tools to edit, enhance and otherwise manipulate a recording. This would be a sort of online and stripped down version of open source audacity.

Evoca’s core features include a very easy way to record a sound file via a computer microphone or from calling into a phone number (Odeo also has a call in recording feature). With Evoca, however, you can also upload a sound file, or even record a skype call directly. As a Mac user I have very few options for recording Skype calls (even Audio Hijacker doesn’t yet properly record Skype calls on the new Intel Macs, and as far as I can tell this is the first product to allow this). PC users have other options for recording Skype, including hotrecorder and Outlook-based Skylook.

Evoca’s Skype recording feature is (for now) limited to one hour recordings and requires a premium account, which costs $5 per month.

Once a recording is created or uploaded, users have the ability to add tags, an image and a description, put it into an album and set it up as a public/shared/private file. Groups with multiple users can also be created. If the files are public, an RSS feed is available. Since others can comment on each file as well, Evoca has basically created a podcasting blog for each user. Add editing tools as I mention above, and they have a very nice platform.

Files can be accessed via a flash player on Evoca, or downloaded as MP3.

There are other useful features as well, such as human transcriptions of sound files for $.80 per minute, and full search functionality of sound files. Sound search uses speech recognition to recognize search terms in sound files, and is provided by Podscope. Finally, users can set a price for others to listen to a file, and proceeds will be sent out monthly via check.

Evoca is clearly an ambitious project. The main issue is whether or not they can get and stay ahead of Odeo and become the brand people think of when they want to record and share audio files online. More from Saul, Ouriel and Pete.

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