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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/


Todays News by officejax free advertising and ad exchange solutionsMORE RESOURCES updated Thu. December / 12 / 2019

The advertising barrage begins less than two months before the Iowa caucuses - CNN
The advertising barrage begins less than two months before the Iowa caucuses  CNN

Bloomberg pours $100 million into 2020 advertising blitz - Fox Business
Bloomberg pours $100 million into 2020 advertising blitz  Fox Business

University of Phoenix Settles Deceptive Advertising Claims for $191 Million - The Wall Street Journal
University of Phoenix Settles Deceptive Advertising Claims for $191 Million  The Wall Street Journal

How SMBs can make more money with digital advertising - DigitalCommerce360
How SMBs can make more money with digital advertising  DigitalCommerce360

Tokyo 2020 Olympics already at over $1B in TV advertising revenue - Fox Business
Tokyo 2020 Olympics already at over $1B in TV advertising revenue  Fox Business

Healthy Community, ADVERTISING: Advertorial — HOLLY CARLING: Sacrificing our health - Coeur d'Alene Press
Healthy Community, ADVERTISING: Advertorial — HOLLY CARLING: Sacrificing our health  Coeur d'Alene Press

Univ. of Phoenix Must Pay $191M for Deceptive Advertising—Mostly to Students - Nonprofit Quarterly
Univ. of Phoenix Must Pay $191M for Deceptive Advertising—Mostly to Students  Nonprofit Quarterly

VIZIO LAUNCHES DIRECT ADVERTISING BUSINESS - Broadcasting & Cable
VIZIO LAUNCHES DIRECT ADVERTISING BUSINESS  Broadcasting & Cable

CBS Joins OpenAP Advertising Consortium - Deadline
CBS Joins OpenAP Advertising Consortium  Deadline

Kim Kardashian West suing Alabama doctor over ‘vampire facial’ advertising - AL.com
Kim Kardashian West suing Alabama doctor over ‘vampire facial’ advertising  AL.com

Report: Advertising Scammer Bribed a Facebook Employee to Keep Its Posts Up - Gizmodo
Report: Advertising Scammer Bribed a Facebook Employee to Keep Its Posts Up  Gizmodo

Maurice Saatchi quits advertising firm he co-founded - BBC News
Maurice Saatchi quits advertising firm he co-founded  BBC News

Online advertising key in countdown to Iowa caucuses - UI The Daily Iowan
Online advertising key in countdown to Iowa caucuses  UI The Daily Iowan

What's next for podcast advertising - AdAge.com
What's next for podcast advertising  AdAge.com

PlaceIQ and FourthWall Media Partner to Connect TV Advertising with In-Store Visits - MarTech Series
PlaceIQ and FourthWall Media Partner to Connect TV Advertising with In-Store Visits  MarTech Series

Advertising and communications company Lindsay, Stone & Briggs to close - Madison.com
Advertising and communications company Lindsay, Stone & Briggs to close  Madison.com

OpenX Granted Patent For Scoring Impressions and Users in Programmatic Advertising - MarTech Series
OpenX Granted Patent For Scoring Impressions and Users in Programmatic Advertising  MarTech Series

Commercial – False advertising – Lanham Act - Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
Commercial – False advertising – Lanham Act  Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

Here's what you need to know in advertising and media this week - Business Insider
Here's what you need to know in advertising and media this week  Business Insider

How successful retail advertisers stand out - Retail Customer Experience
How successful retail advertisers stand out  Retail Customer Experience

Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 2020 - Marketing Land
Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 2020  Marketing Land

Meghan Markle's designer pal ordered to stop advertising with royal's photos: report - Fox News
Meghan Markle's designer pal ordered to stop advertising with royal's photos: report  Fox News

The advertising industry is re-evaluating its core purpose, expert says - CNBC
The advertising industry is re-evaluating its core purpose, expert says  CNBC

SEC's Advertising Changes For Investment Advisers | Fox Rothschild LLP - JD Supra
SEC's Advertising Changes For Investment Advisers | Fox Rothschild LLP  JD Supra

The Pitch: Advertising and marketing news for 12.11.19 - RichmondBizSense
The Pitch: Advertising and marketing news for 12.11.19  RichmondBizSense

Traditional Advertising Methods That Work - Business.com
Traditional Advertising Methods That Work  Business.com

Top Phoenix news: University to settle false-advertising claims; seeking $181K lottery winner; more - Hoodline
Top Phoenix news: University to settle false-advertising claims; seeking $181K lottery winner; more  Hoodline

Advertising continues to assume mothers only use knowledge for domestic caring - Phys.Org
Advertising continues to assume mothers only use knowledge for domestic caring  Phys.Org

BIA: Financial Ads To Fuel Local Advertising In 2020 - Radio & Television Business Report
BIA: Financial Ads To Fuel Local Advertising In 2020  Radio & Television Business Report

Thanks To Our Advertisers! - Above the Law
Thanks To Our Advertisers!  Above the Law

What to Watch For: 2020 Trends, Predicted by Video Advertising's Leading Experts - AdExchanger
What to Watch For: 2020 Trends, Predicted by Video Advertising's Leading Experts  AdExchanger

NBCU Claims $1B in Olympic Advertising Sales - Broadcasting & Cable
NBCU Claims $1B in Olympic Advertising Sales  Broadcasting & Cable

Healthy Community, ADVERTISING: Advertorial — GEORGE BALLING: Enduring gifts - Coeur d'Alene Press
Healthy Community, ADVERTISING: Advertorial — GEORGE BALLING: Enduring gifts  Coeur d'Alene Press

Cashmere Agency Appoints Advertising Veteran Chuka Schneider as Group Account Director - Associated Press
Cashmere Agency Appoints Advertising Veteran Chuka Schneider as Group Account Director  Associated Press

ADVERTISING: Advertorial — DR. WAYNE M. FICHTER: Holiday stress management: Biggest causes of stress and anxiety - Coeur d'Alene Press
ADVERTISING: Advertorial — DR. WAYNE M. FICHTER: Holiday stress management: Biggest causes of stress and anxiety  Coeur d'Alene Press

How In-App Advertising is Collecting Your Data [Infographic] - Business 2 Community
How In-App Advertising is Collecting Your Data [Infographic]  Business 2 Community

Tech Tuesday: Regulating Political Advertising - WOSU
Tech Tuesday: Regulating Political Advertising  WOSU

OpenX Granted Patent For Scoring Impressions, Users In Programmatic Advertising 12/11/2019 - MediaPost Communications
OpenX Granted Patent For Scoring Impressions, Users In Programmatic Advertising 12/11/2019  MediaPost Communications

YouTube Introduces Shopping Ads To Increase Visual Advertising - Forbes
YouTube Introduces Shopping Ads To Increase Visual Advertising  Forbes

Shamrock Capital Makes Investment in Ad Results Media, the Leading Advertising Agency in Audio and Podcasting - Business Wire
Shamrock Capital Makes Investment in Ad Results Media, the Leading Advertising Agency in Audio and Podcasting  Business Wire

Will the 2020s be online advertising's holistic decade? - TechCrunch
Will the 2020s be online advertising's holistic decade?  TechCrunch

It's almost 2020, and advertisers still see women as mom-shaped placeholders - Fast Company
It's almost 2020, and advertisers still see women as mom-shaped placeholders  Fast Company

Donald J. DeBona Sr., who sold advertising for a medical publisher, dies - Baltimore Sun
Donald J. DeBona Sr., who sold advertising for a medical publisher, dies  Baltimore Sun

How to be the Best at Drive-to-Store Advertising - ExchangeWire
How to be the Best at Drive-to-Store Advertising  ExchangeWire

We Need to Fix Online Advertising. All of It. - Slate
We Need to Fix Online Advertising. All of It.  Slate

Google changed its targeting policies to shine a light on political ads, but campaigns are now eyeing more opaque platforms - CNBC
Google changed its targeting policies to shine a light on political ads, but campaigns are now eyeing more opaque platforms  CNBC

What investment advisers should know about the SEC’s proposed advertisement solicitation rule updates - JD Supra
What investment advisers should know about the SEC’s proposed advertisement solicitation rule updates  JD Supra

ShopAdvisor Survey Exposes Gaps in Advertising and Promotion Strategies for QSR and Fast Casual Restaurants - PRUnderground
ShopAdvisor Survey Exposes Gaps in Advertising and Promotion Strategies for QSR and Fast Casual Restaurants  PRUnderground

Political advertising has embraced the memefication of everything, including Love Actually - New Statesman
Political advertising has embraced the memefication of everything, including Love Actually  New Statesman

Is Lamar Advertising Company (REIT)'s (NASDAQ:LAMR) CEO Paid Enough Relative To Peers? - Yahoo Finance
Is Lamar Advertising Company (REIT)'s (NASDAQ:LAMR) CEO Paid Enough Relative To Peers?  Yahoo Finance

Google restricted ad targeting for political ads - Vox.com
Google restricted ad targeting for political ads  Vox.com

Legal Public Notices 12/11 | Legal Advertising - Orlando Weekly
Legal Public Notices 12/11 | Legal Advertising  Orlando Weekly

That $120,000 banana and the limits of brands jumping on bandwagons - Fast Company
That $120,000 banana and the limits of brands jumping on bandwagons  Fast Company

Five advertising trends for 2020 from Australasia's top creatives - The Drum
Five advertising trends for 2020 from Australasia's top creatives  The Drum

TV ad sales leaders who left their jobs in 2019 - AdAge.com
TV ad sales leaders who left their jobs in 2019  AdAge.com

Anne Fine: Story on hospital expansion read like free advertising - GazetteNET
Anne Fine: Story on hospital expansion read like free advertising  GazetteNET

Facebook and Alphabet upgraded by Stifel on advertising optimism - CNBC
Facebook and Alphabet upgraded by Stifel on advertising optimism  CNBC

Cut the cookie: digital advertising's overdue diet - The Drum
Cut the cookie: digital advertising's overdue diet  The Drum

When Must a Travel Advisor Disclose Supplier Identity in Advertising? - Travel Market Report
When Must a Travel Advisor Disclose Supplier Identity in Advertising?  Travel Market Report

Editorial: Legislature wise to consider shining a light on political advertising - Yakima Herald-Republic
Editorial: Legislature wise to consider shining a light on political advertising  Yakima Herald-Republic

Vizio Launches Direct-To-Purchase, Smart TV Advertising Business 12/11/2019 - MediaPost Communications
Vizio Launches Direct-To-Purchase, Smart TV Advertising Business 12/11/2019  MediaPost Communications

The 30 Under 30 Reshaping Marketing And Advertising 2020 - Forbes
The 30 Under 30 Reshaping Marketing And Advertising 2020  Forbes

More Issues for Advertisers on CBD Copy - Radio & Television Business Report
More Issues for Advertisers on CBD Copy  Radio & Television Business Report

Apple is forcing the ad industry to change - Computerworld
Apple is forcing the ad industry to change  Computerworld

5 trends that threaten the Facebook-Google duopoly in digital advertising - AdAge.com
5 trends that threaten the Facebook-Google duopoly in digital advertising  AdAge.com

Why podcast advertising is effective - AdNews
Why podcast advertising is effective  AdNews

Snapchat enjoys a bump in political advertising - Financial Times
Snapchat enjoys a bump in political advertising  Financial Times

Lawyers take action against BP's climate greenwashing advertising campaign - Balkan Green Energy News
Lawyers take action against BP's climate greenwashing advertising campaign  Balkan Green Energy News

FDA issues warning letter for not including the most serious risks in advertisement for medication-assisted treatment drug - FDA.gov
FDA issues warning letter for not including the most serious risks in advertisement for medication-assisted treatment drug  FDA.gov

Mother accuses Marks & Spencer of false advertising after buying ‘awful’ Christmas tree online - The Independent
Mother accuses Marks & Spencer of false advertising after buying ‘awful’ Christmas tree online  The Independent

3 Top Stocks to Buy in Digital Advertising - Motley Fool
3 Top Stocks to Buy in Digital Advertising  Motley Fool

Nearly Nine In Ten Think Political Advertising Rules Need Strengthening 12/10/2019 - MediaPost Communications
Nearly Nine In Ten Think Political Advertising Rules Need Strengthening 12/10/2019  MediaPost Communications

Ad buyers are wary of advertising becoming a casualty of the streaming wars - Digiday
Ad buyers are wary of advertising becoming a casualty of the streaming wars  Digiday

Amazon Management Talks AWS and Advertising - The Motley Fool
Amazon Management Talks AWS and Advertising  The Motley Fool

To Draw Advertisers, Video Services Need to Agree on Audience Measures - The Information
To Draw Advertisers, Video Services Need to Agree on Audience Measures  The Information

Advertising + alcohol: An examination of modern agency culture - Campaign US
Advertising + alcohol: An examination of modern agency culture  Campaign US

Instagram marketing is taking over the advertising industry - - VENTS Magazine
Instagram marketing is taking over the advertising industry -  VENTS Magazine

Advertising veteran Tara Sinha no more - Livemint
Advertising veteran Tara Sinha no more  Livemint

Hulu Says Advertising DTC Brands is Very Effective with Streaming - Cord Cutters News, LLC
Hulu Says Advertising DTC Brands is Very Effective with Streaming  Cord Cutters News, LLC

Sight Lines ezine: A first look at the dazzling Daxing Airport advertising - The Moodie Davitt Report - The Moodie Davitt Report
Sight Lines ezine: A first look at the dazzling Daxing Airport advertising - The Moodie Davitt Report  The Moodie Davitt Report

Landmark Lawsuit Wants Fossil Fuels Ads to Carry Warning Labels - Gizmodo
Landmark Lawsuit Wants Fossil Fuels Ads to Carry Warning Labels  Gizmodo

Rising Demand for Online Display Advertising Services Market by 2019-2026 Focusing on Leading Players Criteo Dynamic Retargeting, DoubleClick Digital Marketing, AdRoll, Sizmek - Market Report Gazette
Rising Demand for Online Display Advertising Services Market by 2019-2026 Focusing on Leading Players Criteo Dynamic Retargeting, DoubleClick Digital Marketing, AdRoll, Sizmek  Market Report Gazette

Google to Restrict User Information It Gives Advertisers - The Wall Street Journal
Google to Restrict User Information It Gives Advertisers  The Wall Street Journal

Arlington Vet Turns to Advertising to Find Kidney Donor - Dallas Observer
Arlington Vet Turns to Advertising to Find Kidney Donor  Dallas Observer

Chase bank chooses Dallas man with Down syndrome for advertising campaign - The Dallas Morning News
Chase bank chooses Dallas man with Down syndrome for advertising campaign  The Dallas Morning News

How to police political advertising - The Economist
How to police political advertising  The Economist

Internet giants are shelling out billions on advertising, driving global growth in spending: GroupM - Which-50
Internet giants are shelling out billions on advertising, driving global growth in spending: GroupM  Which-50

US Patent no. 10255615: System and method for contextual virtual local advertisement insertion - Lexology
US Patent no. 10255615: System and method for contextual virtual local advertisement insertion  Lexology

Facebook launches new safety tools for advertisers as criticism continues over false political ads - CNBC
Facebook launches new safety tools for advertisers as criticism continues over false political ads  CNBC

The Irresistible Visual Power of Urban Advertising - CityLab
The Irresistible Visual Power of Urban Advertising  CityLab

Carvertise Expands as It "Drives" National Advertising Campaigns - MarTech Series
Carvertise Expands as It "Drives" National Advertising Campaigns  MarTech Series

Should Pressman Advertising Limited’s (NSE:PRESSMN) Weak Investment Returns Worry You? - Simply Wall St
Should Pressman Advertising Limited’s (NSE:PRESSMN) Weak Investment Returns Worry You?  Simply Wall St

'Open discrimination of foreigners': Landlord fined after advertising flat 'to Germans' - The Local Germany
'Open discrimination of foreigners': Landlord fined after advertising flat 'to Germans'  The Local Germany

Ad Buyers Starting To Use The Trade Desk DSP Over Google, According To Advertiser Perceptions Report - AdExchanger
Ad Buyers Starting To Use The Trade Desk DSP Over Google, According To Advertiser Perceptions Report  AdExchanger

Bloomberg places at least $37 million in television advertising over next two weeks - CNN
Bloomberg places at least $37 million in television advertising over next two weeks  CNN

Peloton 'wife' pops up in new advertisement - Reuters
Peloton 'wife' pops up in new advertisement  Reuters

A Beginner's Guide to Programmatic Advertising and How it Works - Promotion World
A Beginner's Guide to Programmatic Advertising and How it Works  Promotion World

Former Labour MPs launch advertising blitz urging voters to reject Corbyn at election - The Independent
Former Labour MPs launch advertising blitz urging voters to reject Corbyn at election  The Independent

8 online advertising risks your agency must be prepared for - AdAge.com
8 online advertising risks your agency must be prepared for  AdAge.com

YouTube is working to bring advertising to edgier content as demonetization woes grow - The Verge
YouTube is working to bring advertising to edgier content as demonetization woes grow  The Verge

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