Salsa Sound

Salsa Sound was born when university researchers Rob Oldfield and Ben Shirley patented their suite of AI tools for audio source detection.

One of the university’s successful spin-out companies, Salsa was formed and started trading in July 2017 with both Ben and Rob working on the business whilst maintaining their jobs at the university. In November 2019, Rob left the university to concentrate 100% on the business and was appointed CEO. Since that moment, the company had been on an extraordinary journey as it faced the huge changes brought in as COVID hit the world.

Etihad stadium

Having won an Innovation competition run by The City Football Group (CFG), we had been working closely with them to bring a fan experience sound for them across their digital platforms (so fans around the world could get the experience of what it is like to sit in the stands at the stadium even if they never get to the stadium). They were all set for our first live broadcast of this sound for the MCFC vs Real Madrid game at The Etihad Stadium (17th March 2020), when all sport globally was cancelled because of COVID-19.

At first, this seemed like a disaster for Salsa, but soon it became apparent through conversations with MCFC, Sky and BT Sport and several others, that there would be a requirement to have some virtual crowd sound in broadcast content when sports would return to stadia.

So, in collaboration with MCFC, they produced an app that would allow them to curate a virtual crowd sound tailored to MCFC. This became vCROWD; a touchscreen app which allows intuitive, dynamic control over a virtual crowd sound in real-time.

After narrowly missing out on the contract to be the supplier of virtual crowd for Sky, Salsa focussed on the US market. This proved very successful, working with CBS Sports, the Big10 network, Vista WorldLink, several MLS and USL clubs and delivering the first ever live sports broadcast with a virtual crowd for CBS coverage of the NWSL (women’s’ soccer) which got over 1M views in the US alone. vCROWD deployments covered men’s and women’s sports including soccer, American football, basketball and ice hockey giving valuable insight into these markets and helping form fantastic links with clubs, and broadcasters in the US.

vCROWD won the Outstanding Innovation in Audio award at the SVG Sport TV Awards (Nov ‘21) which are very proud of. Revenue from vCROWD was put straight into company R&D and Salsa employed their first full-time software developer in December 2020. This allowed a complete revamp the software and in December 2021 Salsa launched their flagship AI-driven automated audio mixing software product, MIXaiR.

Salsa’s MIXaiR product was incredibly well received all around the world. Salsa continue to work with huge names in the field such as Dolby in the US and the UK, TV2 in Denmark, Fraunhofer in Germany for their Brazilian clients and they recently covered the FIFA World Cup in Qatar for HBS.

Salsa continues to grow and innovate and are hoping to finalise a contract that will see them at next year’s Olympic games.

Get in Touch

Two people make a plan

Salford’s research creates new and innovative technologies, designs, products and ideas that can potentially be commercialised. The University’s Technology Transfer Office works with academics, commercial and industrial partners to develop these innovations into market-ready offers.

For more information on how we can support you and your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.