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Are you really saving money by hiring an AI voice?




With recent advancements in machine learning, "synthetic voices" or "AI voices" are undoubtedly starting to sound better.

You might have even watched a few YouTube videos and not realised you were listening to something not real.


So naturally, for people who are looking to create lots of content, an AI voice sounds like an excellent idea.


Problem: My content needs a voice over.

Solution: Find the cheapest solution that does the job.


Think about it! They're cheaper, and can work at any time! They also don't develop cancer, become pregnant or go on holiday. Fantastic!

At most you'll need a monthly or yearly subscription to a service like ElevenLabs and you'll have a shiny new, off-the-shelf AI voice over for your mass-content production.


So why on earth is a professional voice over actor such as myself telling you about all the great virtues of AI generated voices?


I try to look at things from the point of view of the client. A voice actor's wellbeing, cost of living, the fact that we use expensive equipment are of little concern to some paying customers (but I'm very glad to know many who do genuinely care).

When have you worried about your courier's wellbeing when a delivery is late?


After all, a voice over is just reading some text with a nice sounding voice.


No?


Rather than telling you to trust me, I have some first-hand experience.


I had voiced a few 15-minute or so documentaries for a client's channel.

A couple of years ago, I had lost a client who had decided to switch to using AI voices for their YouTube narrations. I understood it to be a cost saving measure.


No hard feelings.


Interestingly, since the switch to AI voices, this former client's view count plummeted.

I checked just yesterday, and the most watched videos from this person's channel were still the ones I voiced.


Interesting, wouldn't you say so?


So why were videos that were the same in all ways except for the voice not performing? I'll let you be the judge.


So let's just say that a real human voice, with acting skills and high quality audio creates a much more engaging narration for your audience. (I've written my reasons why I think so here)


On top of that, consider what it's like working with a human vs AI voice.

"Our company name is important, can you make sure people hear it clearly, but in a natural way?"

"Can you sound like you're talking to your friend and excited about this one particular feature?"

"Can you speed up a bit in the beginning and then hard transition second half?"

These are all things that you, the client, can tell a human and you'll get interesting flavours, variations that bring the performance to life.

How do you direct an AI voice to do this?


A human performing a voice over.

What's the logical conclusion of hiring a real human voice over artist?


Your audience stays for longer.

Your content perform better.

Your channel or page gets more engagement, leading to more subscriptions, path to revenue, sponsorships etc.

All of a sudden, that "overpriced" voice over artist has paid for itself.



I'll leave you with this question:

Did the client really save money by switching to an AI voice?




This article was written by a human. More specifically, Mark Mullens, a voice over artist. If you're in need of a professional British voice over, my landing page is here.


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