Calm, a meditation and wellness company, is looking for a voice that puts people to sleep.
And it's hoping to find that voice on TikTok. The company recently posted a video on the social media platform announcing its Next Voice of Calm Contest, which will select the entrant with the most soothing voice to record one of Calm's upcoming Sleep Stories. The winner will also receive $5,000.
"We're looking for TikTok's smoothest voice," Erik Braa, one of Calm's current Sleep Story narrators, intones in the video.
To enter, interested participants need to post a 60-second or less TikTok stitched to Calm's contest announcement video. In your minute-long entry, you can read aloud basically anything: "A grocery list, your last text or a made-up story," Braa says. "As long as it's original and oh-so-soothing."
More than 350 million people have listened to Calm's Sleep Stories, according to the company, making this a potentially huge opportunity for the winner. Other Sleep Stories on Calm's platform have been narrated by celebrities like Harry Styles, Pink and LeBron James.
Like many mental health apps, Calm experienced an influx of new users during the pandemic: It was the world's most downloaded app in April 2020, with nearly four million downloads globally that month, according to intelligence firm Sensory Tower. Calm attained a $2 billion valuation in December 2020, following a $75 million fundraising round.
More recently, the global mental health app industry as a whole — which was valued at $4.2 billion last year, according to a Grand View Research report — has come under fire for not actually improving the mental wellbeing of most users. A January study published in PLOS Digital Health, a health care research platform, found there was no "convincing evidence in support of any mobile phone-based intervention."
But according to Calm, its Sleep Stories might actually work. In an October 2021 study conducted by Jennifer Huberty, the company's director of science, a majority of participants reported that "using Calm helped them fall asleep, stay asleep and get restful sleep." Most of those participants struggled with sleep disturbances, and nearly half had a mental health diagnosis, according to the study.
The Next Voice of Calm Contest closes on May 13, and the winner will be announced on June 7, with their Sleep Story anticipated to publish on Calm's app this fall. Entrants are only allowed one submission each, and must be at least 18 years old. They also must be legal residents and living in the U.S. or United Kingdom.