Working in the voiceover industry is not for the faint-hearted, and with the start of a new year, it’s a good time to reflect and take a moment to share a few thoughts about the year ahead.
While 2023 represents a fantastic chance to be optimistic, it’s also essential to acknowledge that 2022 was especially difficult for countless people – with economic turmoil and global conflicts darkening our world.
During covid, we had a surge in actors entering the VO industry along with many amateur VAs armed only with passion, aspiration and a mic. All this new supply and now even fewer available voiceover jobs have made the industry hyper-competitive prompting a knee-jerk race to the bottom on rates from notable marketplaces. Purely for their self-preservation. For instance, platforms encourage clients to post telephone IVR message jobs for as low as $5.
Meanwhile, companies like Apple, historically trading on artists’ goodwill, has favored the AI-narration of its audiobooks. Yes, we can tell the difference, but this technology increasingly normalises synthetic narration as acceptable to younger audiences.
The convergence of all these factors is hitting everyone in the industry hard. So, if you’ve been feeling anxious as of late, I want you to know that you’re not alone. However, I firmly believe that the future of the voiceover industry shines brightly.
The latest advancements in technology and accessibility are GROWING the demand for engaging HUMAN voiceovers like never before.
Keep in mind, voiceover isn’t the only profession currently being disrupted by new AI products and services. Designers, developers, copywriters, educators, performers, drivers, pilots, engineers, and assembly line workers must come to terms with a future that allows them to wield this technology or soon be made redundant by it.
And yet, this was also a deep concern back when Google Translate launched in 2006. My co-founder, Al, remembers it well. Machine translation was a huge talking point in the translation industry. Everyone thought their jobs were gone. But the translators who came out on top embraced the technology. Suddenly they could translate faster and make it more affordable for customers. It accelerated the localisation industry.
I sincerely believe that something similar will happen with AI/ synthetic voiceover technology. It’s enabling buyers to add voiceover to content that otherwise would have had none.
This increased accessibility will become a customer expectation, resulting in an increased demand for human voiceovers. Why? Because, funnily enough, humans quite like the sound of other humans. 😃
After all, voiceover isn’t just about imparting a message or reading a line. It’s an emotional connection. When an artificial voice speaks, we feel nothing. The cold, lifeless and repetitive tones, devoid of warmth or inspiration, merely arouse a sense of isolation and disengagement.
There will always be a need for acting talent, and by focusing our efforts on improving our vocal range and acting experience, we’ll always give a performance that customers want to buy.
We’re behind that effort, and we’re supporting you.
Our message at Voquent has always been about quality over quantity and paying fair rates for good work, and we’re still at the beginning of our journey.
This year, we’ve finally begun developing the technology platform we dreamed about when we launched four years ago. We’re more convinced than ever that this technology’s eventual launch will profoundly impact the entire voiceover ecosystem worldwide.
I’m excited about what’s in store, and as we progress, I’ll be eager to share more details so that you can also look forward to what’s ahead.
In the meantime, I know things will remain challenging for all of us in the short term. I encourage you to stay focused on building your skills and growing your network using as many mediums as you can, and ultimately, you’ll be in a great space to develop your voiceover career!
Stay tuned in: The Voquent blog is also full of helpful advice, from optimising your profile or improving your home studio to coaching and marketing ideas. Voquent’s voice actors have created the most vibrant voiceover community on Twitter, and we welcome you to join in the debates, tips, insights, and fun that have kept us all smiling in recent times.
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