The Future of Voiceovers: Hold Your Tongue...Possibly Forever

"Do we need to cast a voice-over talent for this project?"

That's a valid question any producer might ask when creating an advertisement, corporate audio-video presentation, video game, etc. Of course, the answer depends on what elements the producer and client feel will best communicate with the audience.

For a radio ad, a fully sung jingle with no voice-over could work best. A TV spot or corporate narration might be most effective using scrolling graphic and text, again without an announcer. But very soon producers could be pondering whether their productions need a voice over talent for a more disturbing reason. Vocal utterances produced by air passing through folds of tissue and formed by lips, teeth, and tongue may, simply put, become obsolete. Yes, the "virtual voice talent" may very well become a reality.

Welcome to the Machine

In the May 2004 issue of Mix Magazine, in two separate articles, Stephen St. Croix and Paul D. Lehrman relate their experiences with a new piece of software ominously named "Vocaloid." This little computer-coded wonder is a speech synthesizer that's being used to synthesize background vocals on actual recordings that are being sold to the public--background vocals so good, you'd be hard-pressed to recognize they're fake singers. Now, considering the dubious singing talents of many of our current pop stars, maybe a Vocaloid virtual diva named Britney isn't too far-fetched. Audio manipulation, including pitch correction, equalization, compression, reverb, have been used for decades to save the bacon of many a pop star's performance in-studio or on stage. Technically, it's just a short step from this point to a "singer in a box."

In fact, in the letters section of the July 2004 issue of Mix Magazine a person identified only as "BC," referring to the St. Croix and Lehrman articles, boasted that he's created a "band" called The Bots, "...created wholly from speech synthesizers and 3-D graphics." BC further states, "I use Vocaloid among a variety of other speech synths to make it more into an ensemble. The Bots have released two CDs, a 'record deal' with Magnatune, and a second video in the works. It's been a long and painful ordeal, but I've finally gotten them to the point where they seem as real as any other band out there--except no live concerts."

I've Gotta Sing

And that's the crux of the matter. The appeal of virtual entertainers probably will be quite limited--at least for the foreseeable future--because they can't tour, do drugs, get into fights, sue their record labels, promote world peace, raise money for charity, or do anything live flesh and blood performers can do. We, the audience, love the performer as much as the performer's music. And, in this case, that's a good thing. Tony Bennett, the White Stripes, Diana Krall, Toby Keith, Frederica von Stade, and all of the American Idol wannabes are quite safe from Vocaloid elimination.

Speak Now of Forever Hold Your Peace

But voice over talents may not be so lucky. Voice talents are not seen. They don't have adoring fans, except their moms and, maybe, a few other voice-over talents. They perform in short increments: 30 seconds, 60 seconds, a 30 minute narration on how to make a million in real estate. If speech synthesis has reached a point of sophistication sufficient enough to create virtual singers, what's to prevent a software genius from developing a program to replace voice talent? Write the program.

Sample 300 to 500 voices, male and female, each with unique characteristics, incorporate them into the software and, voila, Instant Announcer in a Box. Just load your script text into the program, which converts the text to perfectly uttered speech. No retakes. With a few clicks of the mouse to tweak inflection, emphasis, pacing, dynamics, etc. to polish the natural feel of the voice-over and you're done.

Far-fetched? If entertainment's got a virtual band call The Bots, why can't advertising and marketing have its own virtual Don Pardo?

Well, it seems maybe they can...

©Peter Drew

Peter Drew, a freelance voice-over talent and copywriter/producer with decades of experience, is heard on radio and television stations, corporate presentations, web sites, and messages-on-hold across America and countries around the world. To send an email regarding this article, please visit Peter Drew Voiceovers at http://www.peterdrewvo.com/

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

EFF

We're in the Uncanny Valley of Targeted Advertising
EFF
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder and CEO, thinks people want targeted advertising. The “overwhelming feedback,” he said multiple times during his congressional testimony, was that people want to see “good and relevant” ads. Why then are so many ...
Complying With New Privacy Laws and Offering New Privacy Protections to Everyone, No Matter Where You Live ...Facebook Newsroom
Exclusive: Facebook to put 1.5 billion users out of reach of new EU privacy lawReuters
Privacy | Sections | - The Daily DotThe Daily Dot
Times of India
all 144 news articles »

Wall Street Journal

Ford to Seek Bids for Parts of Advertising Business, Dealing Blow to ...
Wall Street Journal
Ford Motor Co. F -1.19% has decided to put parts of its immense advertising account up for review in the coming weeks, dealing a blow to its incumbent agency, WPP PLC. WPP's dedicated agency for Ford, called GTB, announced the decision on Friday in a ...
Ford Motor to review some WPP-held advertising businessSeeking Alpha

all 8 news articles »

Forbes

Alphabet's Strength In Core Advertising To Continue To Drive Revenues, Profits
Forbes
Alphabet is scheduled to announce its Q1 earnings on Monday, April 23. The company has reported strong growth in revenues in recent years, driven by Google's core search advertisement business. Advertising on Google's own platforms, or Google ...

and more »

Bloomberg

P&G Ends its YouTube Advertising Boycott, But With a Catch
Bloomberg
Google gave marketers more control over where and how they run ads on YouTube. In January, it introduced a sweeping set of changes, including a pledge to manually review every ad in Google Preferred, a pricier collection of more popular videos. P&G ...
P&G ends its YouTube boycott after more than a yearAdAge.com
Exclusive: YouTube ran ads from hundreds of brands on extremist channelsCNNMoney
P&G resumes advertising on YouTube after 1-year pauseCincinnati Business Courier
Fortune -YouTube Creator Blog -MarketWatch -Baltimore Sun
all 54 news articles »

Business Insider

There may be a surprise winner in YouTube's latest advertising mess: YouTube
Business Insider
Yikes, right? Especially considering that in two weeks YouTube is scheduled to host its annual brandcast presentation to advertisers in New York. Maybe not. That's because YouTube recently pledged to task humans with reviewing all of the channels that ...

and more »

Business Insider

What you need to know in advertising today - Business Insider
Business Insider
Last year, when McDonald's was looking for a fun way to support a promotion for $1 cold beverages, it decided to test augmented reality ads on Snapchat designed to drive people to its restaurants. The campaign resulted in a surge in revenue that was ...

and more »

CNET

Twitter Bans Kaspersky From Advertising on the Platform Citing DHS Ban
BleepingComputer
"Twitter made the policy decision to off-board advertising from all accounts owned by Kaspersky Lab," a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement identical to the one received by Kaspersky Lab in January. "This decision is based on our determination ...
Kaspersky calls out Twitter over advertising ban in letter - CNETCNET
Kaspersky Lab Chief Says Company Banned From Advertising On TwitterRadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Kaspersky banned from advertising on Twitter over security fearsTelegraph.co.uk
Wccftech -Firstpost -Twitter for Business -Homeland Security
all 38 news articles »

Inside ESPN's content and advertising partnership with Cycle
Digiday
On April 22, ESPN will air a 7-minute documentary short titled “The Six Day Race: The Story of Marshall 'Major' Taylor” on TV. The short, which was released online on April 18, profiles the first black athlete to win a world championship in competitive ...


ABC News

Junk food TV advertising likely highest when kids are watching ...
ABC News
A new study in Australia looked at how much junk food advertising kids were exposed to and the numbers were staggering. Food advertising can directly affect the types of foods that children actually eat, The World Health Organization has said. To ...

and more »

Quartz

Britain is stricter on sandwich labels than political referendums
Quartz
All of which leaves one to wonder: Why can't Britain stringently investigate all forms of advertising with the same iron fist? Political advertising can make or break campaigns. But judging by examples from the recent past, the UK watchdog relinquished ...

and more »
Google News

Humor in Advertising

Many of the most memorable ad campaigns around tend to... Read More

Business Cards: Why Waste Valuable Space?

So many business people neglect this valuable asset that may... Read More

Grab Your Share of Untold Amounts of Advertising Dollars

If you advertise in any way, the following information could... Read More

Top Design and Marketing Tips from a Branding Expert

This month, we wanted to share some general tips relating... Read More

Marketing Messages with Add Zest & Appeal

Boring is one thing you can't afford to be when... Read More

Testimonials Convert Prospects Into Buyers

Big businesses get instant credibility with their well-known company name... Read More

LED video Displays

LED video displays give you the power to communicate, to... Read More

The Not-So-Hidden Persuaders: The Power of The Media Upon Us All

In 1957, a perspicacious young journalist from Pennsylvania named Vance... Read More

Organizing Business Cards for Effective Contact Management

Now that you've had colorful new business cards printed, and... Read More

Whats On Your Business Card?

A professional business card says more about you and your... Read More

Advertising Through Moms

Moms have a very powerful influence on what their families... Read More

5 Tips for Hot Yellow Pages Ads

Yellow Pages advertising is one of the most popular forms... Read More

HackeD

hey admin thIS website Is HaCKEd by Unkn0wn_hax0r... Read More

6 Ways To Get More Sales From Your Advertisement

To bring great sales success, a great advertising technique is... Read More

Cable Ads 5 Bucks!

Cable has grown from 13 houses connected together in 1948... Read More

10 Tips to Use Giveaways Effectively

Walk around any trade or consumer show and you will... Read More

How To Write Really Good Ads

All sales begin with some form of advertising. To build... Read More

See How to Advertise and Gain More Money to Blast Another Project

We have a Great News that we think that may... Read More

Ten Ways To Sell Advertising Space Fast

1. Give your customers a discount when they spend over... Read More

Why People Fail in Mail Order

Mail order is a very complicated business. Every phase must... Read More

The Forgotten Advertising Tip

I'm sure while you have seen many tips on advertising,... Read More

Online Advertising: 10 High Impact Psychological Triggers To Super-Charge Your Ad

If you knew these 10 high impact insider's hidden psychological... Read More

The Motivational Triggers That Make People Buy

In order to sell more products and service, you need... Read More

Direct Response Advertising; Radio vs TV

Radio advertising vs. television advertisingMany new advertisers assume that they... Read More

Advertising Costs Getting Too High?

Everyone knows that advertising is essential to growing a business.... Read More