When the “sleep and meditation” service Calm launched its app seven years ago, the company was largely focused on the meditation half of its offerings. A few years ago, though, says Michael Acton Smith, co-founder and co-CEO of Calm, it began to notice a sharp spike in traffic every evening between 10:30 and 11 p.m. Bedtime.“People had been using white noise or Netflix or podcasts to help them sleep. Now they were using our meditations,” Smith concluded, and so the company began commissioning what it calls “stories” — breathy, soothing, grown-up bedtime tales with a feather bed of tinkling music beneath the murmured words. The stories, sometimes read by velvet-throated thespians such as Matthew McConaughey and Stephen Fry, still didn’t satisfy the demand of Calm’s bleary-eyed followers, who (quietly) clamored for just the musical beds, unencumbered by voices, words or other triggers of our daily grind.Today, the “sleep” tab on Calm features exclusive hourlong compositions from alt-rock instrumental stars Moby and Sigur Ros, among soporific New Agey playlists like “Chasing Wonder,” “Healing Piano” and “Sleep Like a Baby.” All told, its tracks have been streamed more than 200 million times to date. Calm is currently valued at $1 billion, and,… Read full this story
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