Veritone Synthetic Voice Gets an Audition
I Have Heard the Future
iHeart to Use Voice Cloning AI to Translate Podcasts
iHeartMedia’s plan to use Veritone’s voice-cloning technology for its podcast platform has some radio industry observers asking the obvious questions: How good does it sound and is broadcast radio far behind? The largest radio company in the United States says that for now, the synthetic voice solution will only be used to translate podcasts from English to other languages for use on the iHeartPodcast Network, first for Spanish-speaking audiences.
But Veritone officials confirm its technology could someday be used for advertising to reduce time-to-market and production costs for radio. One veteran broadcast engineer said Veritone’s voice cloning product is exactly the sort of tech breakthrough that media are quickly adopting as the industry embraces cost-saving measures and could at the very least bring a more centralized approach to commercial production and staffing by leveraging artificial intelligence. There are literally dozens of examples of text-to-speech apps available commercially, many of which can convert text into human-like speech, even if it is still might be a bit robotic. Observers familiar with this technology say some of the services on news websites are becoming good enough to be, “almost indiscernible from real human voices.”
But what Veritone and iHeartMedia are trotting out appears to be an effort to take synthetic speech and voice cloning to another level, according to those familiar with the AI platform. Veritone says “hyper-realistic custom voice clones” will offer increased revenue streams for branded synthetic voices of top talent — imagine the cloned voice of Ryan Seacrest someday pitching for the local hardware store. Veritone launched Veritone Voice in 2021, which has the ability to, “control and manage the entire voice creation lifecycle for efficiency and scale.” The company says its synthetic voice solution will afford iHeartMedia the opportunity to reach new audiences at scale with their current top podcast talent. “With no additional studio time, voice talent can authorize Veritone’s synthetic voice solution to automatically produce more podcasts, advertisements and additional audio in multiple languages with the same energy, cadence and uniqueness of top talent,” the technology company says.