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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 Wed. May / 25 / 2022

Snap's warning sends shock across digital advertising as investors flee social media stocks - CNBC
Snap's warning sends shock across digital advertising as investors flee social media stocks  CNBC

News from Google Marketing Live advertising conference - AdAge.com
News from Google Marketing Live advertising conference  AdAge.com

FTC Proposes to Strengthen Advertising Guidelines Against Fake and Manipulated Reviews - Federal Trade Commission News
FTC Proposes to Strengthen Advertising Guidelines Against Fake and Manipulated Reviews  Federal Trade Commission News

Advertising in the Metaverse - Fenwick & West LLP
Advertising in the Metaverse  Fenwick & West LLP

What if Elon Musk ditches Twitter advertising? - Smartbrief
What if Elon Musk ditches Twitter advertising?  Smartbrief

Lee Introduces Digital Advertising Act - United States Senator Mike Lee
Lee Introduces Digital Advertising Act  United States Senator Mike Lee

Why Marketers Are Returning to Traditional Advertising - HBR.org Daily
Why Marketers Are Returning to Traditional Advertising  HBR.org Daily

Meet the Notable Leaders in Advertising, Marketing and PR - Crain's New York Business
Meet the Notable Leaders in Advertising, Marketing and PR  Crain's New York Business

Save the date: FTC to host “Protecting Kids from Stealth Advertising in Digital Media” - Federal Trade Commission News
Save the date: FTC to host “Protecting Kids from Stealth Advertising in Digital Media”  Federal Trade Commission News

Advertising: A Slow-Fast Evolution - Forbes
Advertising: A Slow-Fast Evolution  Forbes

Why advertising won the streaming wars - Fast Company
Why advertising won the streaming wars  Fast Company

Google Shares Sneak Peek At New Advertising Features - Search Engine Journal
Google Shares Sneak Peek At New Advertising Features  Search Engine Journal

Reducing the harm from alcohol – by regulating cross-border alcohol marketing, advertising and promotion: a technical report - World Health Organization
Reducing the harm from alcohol – by regulating cross-border alcohol marketing, advertising and promotion: a technical report  World Health Organization

What social media advertising tells us about inflation - Marketplace
What social media advertising tells us about inflation  Marketplace

David Droga changed advertising. Now he wants to kill it. - Fast Company
David Droga changed advertising. Now he wants to kill it.  Fast Company

US Podcast Advertising Revenue Report: FY 2021 Results & 2022-2024 Growth Projections - IAB
US Podcast Advertising Revenue Report: FY 2021 Results & 2022-2024 Growth Projections  IAB

Microsoft Advertising is rolling out Auto-generated remarketing lists and more - Search Engine Land
Microsoft Advertising is rolling out Auto-generated remarketing lists and more  Search Engine Land

Questions about digital advertising? – The Florida Bar - The Florida Bar
Questions about digital advertising? – The Florida Bar  The Florida Bar

TikTok introduces its first ad product to offer a revenue share with creators - TechCrunch
TikTok introduces its first ad product to offer a revenue share with creators  TechCrunch

Google Topics Resembles Contextual Advertising - Practical Ecommerce
Google Topics Resembles Contextual Advertising  Practical Ecommerce

'The ad experiences that consumers find most annoying are also bad for the environment': The business case for sustainable digital advertising - Digiday
'The ad experiences that consumers find most annoying are also bad for the environment': The business case for sustainable digital advertising  Digiday

Amazon Advertising Is 44% Cheaper Than Facebook Or Google. But That’s Not The Only Only Thing Brands Should Care About - Forbes
Amazon Advertising Is 44% Cheaper Than Facebook Or Google. But That’s Not The Only Only Thing Brands Should Care About  Forbes

PPC Advertising Ultimate Guide - Forbes
PPC Advertising Ultimate Guide  Forbes

Cinema advertising hopes to get close to pre-pandemic ad revenue totals with new tools, services - Digiday
Cinema advertising hopes to get close to pre-pandemic ad revenue totals with new tools, services  Digiday

It’s Been an Interesting Few Years in Cough-Drop Advertising - The New York Times
It’s Been an Interesting Few Years in Cough-Drop Advertising  The New York Times

Elon Musk Hates Ads. Twitter Needs Them. That May Be a Problem. - The New York Times
Elon Musk Hates Ads. Twitter Needs Them. That May Be a Problem.  The New York Times

Contextual Advertising – Giving Publishers What They Need - The Drum
Contextual Advertising – Giving Publishers What They Need  The Drum

How Amazon Is Building Its Huge Advertising Business - Business Insider
How Amazon Is Building Its Huge Advertising Business  Business Insider

Dream hacking: Is this the dystopian future of advertising? - Big Think
Dream hacking: Is this the dystopian future of advertising?  Big Think

Traditional Advertising Is Headed For Growth. These 7 Trends Are Driving It - AList
Traditional Advertising Is Headed For Growth. These 7 Trends Are Driving It  AList

Lamar Advertising Company acquires Burkhart Advertising - Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
Lamar Advertising Company acquires Burkhart Advertising  Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

Netflix’s Advertising Dilemma: Will Partners Get Any More Transparency? - Hollywood Reporter
Netflix’s Advertising Dilemma: Will Partners Get Any More Transparency?  Hollywood Reporter

Report shows that Amazon uses data from Alexa smart speakers to serve targeted ads - The Verge
Report shows that Amazon uses data from Alexa smart speakers to serve targeted ads  The Verge

HSBC faces greenwashing accusations from UK advertising watchdog - Financial Times
HSBC faces greenwashing accusations from UK advertising watchdog  Financial Times

Apple's Eddy Cue Is Shaking up Its Services - Business Insider
Apple's Eddy Cue Is Shaking up Its Services  Business Insider

Digital Advertising in 2022 – Stratechery by Ben Thompson - Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Digital Advertising in 2022 – Stratechery by Ben Thompson  Stratechery by Ben Thompson

Amazon has a $31 billion a year advertising business - CNBC
Amazon has a $31 billion a year advertising business  CNBC

Ban Online Behavioral Advertising - EFF
Ban Online Behavioral Advertising  EFF

Op-ed: Apple and Google are spelling the end for user-tracking, and advertisers must adjust, says Taboola CEO. - CNBC
Op-ed: Apple and Google are spelling the end for user-tracking, and advertisers must adjust, says Taboola CEO.  CNBC

Democrats unveil bill to ban online 'surveillance advertising' - The Verge
Democrats unveil bill to ban online 'surveillance advertising'  The Verge

Microsoft Advertising announces open beta for RSA ad customizers - Search Engine Land
Microsoft Advertising announces open beta for RSA ad customizers  Search Engine Land

10 Top Advertising Campaigns & Why They Work - Search Engine Journal
10 Top Advertising Campaigns & Why They Work  Search Engine Journal

The 10 most innovative advertising agencies of 2022 - Fast Company
The 10 most innovative advertising agencies of 2022  Fast Company

Privacy Preserving Attribution for Advertising - Mozilla & Firefox
Privacy Preserving Attribution for Advertising  Mozilla & Firefox

Amazon, Disney and Other Streamers Are Embracing Ads - The New York Times
Amazon, Disney and Other Streamers Are Embracing Ads  The New York Times

U.S. Advertising Forecast Cut Slightly Amid Geopolitical Uncertainty - Hollywood Reporter
U.S. Advertising Forecast Cut Slightly Amid Geopolitical Uncertainty  Hollywood Reporter

Companies Try to Sell Videogaming as the Next Big Advertising Channel - The Wall Street Journal
Companies Try to Sell Videogaming as the Next Big Advertising Channel  The Wall Street Journal

Digital Advertising Soared 35% to $189 Billion in 2021 According to the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report - IAB
Digital Advertising Soared 35% to $189 Billion in 2021 According to the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report  IAB

Is Super Bowl advertising worth it? That's the $6 million question - Temple University News
Is Super Bowl advertising worth it? That's the $6 million question  Temple University News

A Downtick Is Coming for Online Advertising - The Wall Street Journal
A Downtick Is Coming for Online Advertising  The Wall Street Journal

Federal Trade Commission accuses Intuit of deceptively advertising TurboTax as free - NPR
Federal Trade Commission accuses Intuit of deceptively advertising TurboTax as free  NPR

How CTV Advertising Can Bypass Digital Media's Awkward Teenage Years - Adweek
How CTV Advertising Can Bypass Digital Media's Awkward Teenage Years  Adweek

What advertisers need to focus on as they prepare for the metaverse - VentureBeat
What advertisers need to focus on as they prepare for the metaverse  VentureBeat

Inside Reddit's UK advertising growth ambitions - Digiday
Inside Reddit's UK advertising growth ambitions  Digiday

History Is Repeating Itself in the Current Digital Advertising Landscape - Adweek
History Is Repeating Itself in the Current Digital Advertising Landscape  Adweek

Walgreens Advertising Group Announces Launch of Self-Serve Programmatic and Clean-Room Solutions - Walgreens Newsroom
Walgreens Advertising Group Announces Launch of Self-Serve Programmatic and Clean-Room Solutions  Walgreens Newsroom

The truth in political advertising: 'You're allowed to lie' - NPR
The truth in political advertising: 'You're allowed to lie'  NPR

6 Keys to Post-Pandemic Out-of-Home Advertising Success - Entrepreneur
6 Keys to Post-Pandemic Out-of-Home Advertising Success  Entrepreneur

Atlanta's 25 Largest Advertising and Marketing Firms - Atlanta Business Chronicle - The Business Journals
Atlanta's 25 Largest Advertising and Marketing Firms - Atlanta Business Chronicle  The Business Journals

Microsoft to acquire Xandr to accelerate delivery of digital advertising and retail media solutions - Microsoft
Microsoft to acquire Xandr to accelerate delivery of digital advertising and retail media solutions  Microsoft

Google suspends all advertising in Russia - CNBC
Google suspends all advertising in Russia  CNBC

Disney+ to Introduce an Ad-Supported Subscription Offering in Late 2022 - The Walt Disney Company
Disney+ to Introduce an Ad-Supported Subscription Offering in Late 2022  The Walt Disney Company

Netflix CFO has no plans for advertising but 'never say never' - Reuters.com
Netflix CFO has no plans for advertising but 'never say never'  Reuters.com

When TV Manufacturers Do Ads: State Of The CTV Advertising And OEM Union - AdExchanger
When TV Manufacturers Do Ads: State Of The CTV Advertising And OEM Union  AdExchanger

Facebook is the big loser of the fourth quarter's advertising wars - CNBC
Facebook is the big loser of the fourth quarter's advertising wars  CNBC

The cases for and against the annual TV advertising upfront model - Digiday
The cases for and against the annual TV advertising upfront model  Digiday

Is Momentum Shifting Toward a Ban on Behavioral Advertising? – The Markup - The Markup
Is Momentum Shifting Toward a Ban on Behavioral Advertising? – The Markup  The Markup

Facebook's $10 Billion Advertising Exodus - The Journal. - WSJ Podcasts - The Wall Street Journal
Facebook's $10 Billion Advertising Exodus - The Journal. - WSJ Podcasts  The Wall Street Journal

Comcast Advertising Rolls Out Nationwide, Multi-Screen Media Solution for Premium TV Advertising with the Relaunch of its AudienceXpress Brand - Business Wire
Comcast Advertising Rolls Out Nationwide, Multi-Screen Media Solution for Premium TV Advertising with the Relaunch of its AudienceXpress Brand  Business Wire

Biden Puts Surveillance Advertising on Notice - WIRED
Biden Puts Surveillance Advertising on Notice  WIRED

How supply chain issues and inflation have started to reshape advertising - Marketplace
How supply chain issues and inflation have started to reshape advertising  Marketplace

Marketing Briefing: 'Skipping steps': Why advertisers may reconsider responsive, real time advertising post Peloton ad - Digiday
Marketing Briefing: 'Skipping steps': Why advertisers may reconsider responsive, real time advertising post Peloton ad  Digiday

This Often-Overlooked Strategy Is Actually an Advertising Breakthrough — and It's Here to Stay - Entrepreneur
This Often-Overlooked Strategy Is Actually an Advertising Breakthrough — and It's Here to Stay  Entrepreneur

Spain moves to rein in crypto-asset advertising - Reuters.com
Spain moves to rein in crypto-asset advertising  Reuters.com

Advertising Acts as Another Vehicle of Protest to Ukraine War - The New York Times
Advertising Acts as Another Vehicle of Protest to Ukraine War  The New York Times

Advertising Platform OpenX Will Pay $2 Million for Collecting Personal Information from Children in Violation of Children's Privacy Law - Federal Trade Commission News
Advertising Platform OpenX Will Pay $2 Million for Collecting Personal Information from Children in Violation of Children's Privacy Law  Federal Trade Commission News

Are advertisers going to infiltrate our dreams? - The Hustle
Are advertisers going to infiltrate our dreams?  The Hustle

Advertising - FOX 11 Los Angeles
Advertising  FOX 11 Los Angeles

Top Biden strategists launch new advertising firm - POLITICO
Top Biden strategists launch new advertising firm  POLITICO

Advertisers may be wasting billions on duplicated reach - AdAge.com
Advertisers may be wasting billions on duplicated reach  AdAge.com

Microsoft Ads Chief Rob Wilk On Why Advertising Is The Company's 'Newfound Religion' - AdExchanger
Microsoft Ads Chief Rob Wilk On Why Advertising Is The Company's 'Newfound Religion'  AdExchanger

Why traditional advertising needs to be kicked to the curb in Web3 - VentureBeat
Why traditional advertising needs to be kicked to the curb in Web3  VentureBeat

Podcast advertising could be a blueprint for cookieless advertising - VentureBeat
Podcast advertising could be a blueprint for cookieless advertising  VentureBeat

Does Personalized Advertising Work as Well as Tech Companies Claim? - HBR.org Daily
Does Personalized Advertising Work as Well as Tech Companies Claim?  HBR.org Daily

Advertising Market Keeps Growing Much Faster Than Expected, Forecasters Say - The Wall Street Journal
Advertising Market Keeps Growing Much Faster Than Expected, Forecasters Say  The Wall Street Journal

MLB to add jersey advertising for first time in league history as part of new CBA, per report - CBS Sports
MLB to add jersey advertising for first time in league history as part of new CBA, per report  CBS Sports

Internet Advertising Revenue Report: Full Year 2021 - IAB
Internet Advertising Revenue Report: Full Year 2021  IAB

Through Group Black, P&G Pledges Nine-Figure Advertising Buy in Black-Owned Media - Adweek
Through Group Black, P&G Pledges Nine-Figure Advertising Buy in Black-Owned Media  Adweek

Social Advertising Doesn't Have to Be Complicated or Stressful - Adweek
Social Advertising Doesn't Have to Be Complicated or Stressful  Adweek

Marketing vs. Advertising: Which Should You Be Doing? - The Motley Fool
Marketing vs. Advertising: Which Should You Be Doing?  The Motley Fool

The Power of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Advertising - Adweek
The Power of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Advertising  Adweek

How native ads work in digital audio - Spotify
How native ads work in digital audio  Spotify

Busting the Myth of “Too Hard” in Advertising - Adweek
Busting the Myth of “Too Hard” in Advertising  Adweek

Google's advertising tech targeted in European publishers' complaint - Reuters
Google's advertising tech targeted in European publishers' complaint  Reuters

Burger King accused of false advertising in lawsuit alleging Whoppers are too small - NBC News
Burger King accused of false advertising in lawsuit alleging Whoppers are too small  NBC News

The Big Story: Surveillance Advertising - AdExchanger
The Big Story: Surveillance Advertising  AdExchanger

Facebook ads are suddenly doing better despite Apple advertising debacle - 9to5Mac
Facebook ads are suddenly doing better despite Apple advertising debacle  9to5Mac

Ageism In Advertising: Common Stereotypes And How To Avoid Them - Forbes
Ageism In Advertising: Common Stereotypes And How To Avoid Them  Forbes

Chrome’s “Topics” advertising system is here, whether you want it or not - Ars Technica
Chrome’s “Topics” advertising system is here, whether you want it or not  Ars Technica

Digital audio advertising 101 - Spotify
Digital audio advertising 101  Spotify

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