Giving Away Your Voice... Forever.
I've just been approached by a leading entrepreneur and business man for some voice work.
This particular guy is the founder of a massive and well-known tech site, and is currently busy developing in the AI voice space. He politely requested a relatively short recording session for a few hundred bucks.
He says he's creating a synthetic voice toolbox for people to add to their short videos. He mentions that other big companies creating digital assistants need hours and hours of recording but all he needs is a smaller sample - so it's cool because I only have to record for half an hour.
Turns out this half hour session would be all his company would need to be able to generate a clone in order to voice any text that anybody writes. Any word or combination of words can be generated automatically based on the bank of work I give him. He's keen that the deal involves "all commercial rights".
So, I essentially hand this guy a blueprint and, above all, the commercial rights to my voice and he can do deals with my voice with other people where I play no further role. My deep faked voice can be used to say whatever anyone wants it to say.
Granted, the programme might sound a bit crap currently judging by what I'm generally hearing in the AI voice space. But, in five years, this guy still has that blueprint. I will no longer be the sole owner of my voice and livelihood. There will be another.
What worries me the most is that a little internet super-sleuthing has shown that this guy is absolutely HOARDING the voices of others. Daily. I mean, like he is on it. Looking through the orders that are going through on some freelancer sites show that VOs have apparently gladly jumped on board with this and this guy is creating some kind of mega bank.
Can you imagine an artist handing over his painting style to be reproduced infinitely? a singer sitting back and hearing themselves crooning away in the charts having played no role in the creation of the record and earning nothing from the sales and plays?
Voice over artists: your voice is your voice... don't hand it over to my tech friend and people like him for a quick fix. The great thing about voice over work is that you are your USP. No one sounds like you and not one individual can ever accurately recreate your style... until the day you hand the keys to your voice on to someone else, that is.