Spotify is buying an AI voice platform Sonantic-MBW

Spotify is buying an AI voice platform Sonantic-MBW

Spotify is buying London-based Sonantic, an AI voice platform that claims to be able to create “compelling, nuanced, and stunningly realistic voices from text”.

On Sonantic’s website, the company says its “technology is poised to revolutionize game and film production”.Launched in December 2018 by Zeena Qureshi and John Flynn, Sonantic’s founders have backgrounds in speech and language therapy to Hollywood sound production.

In a blog post written by Zeena Qureshi, Sonantic’s CEO & Co-founder, Qureshi explains that the company’s work is split into two parts.

Firstly, according to Qureshi, the company creates “high quality voice technology for studios”.Adds Qureshi: “Sparing creators the time and logistics involved in traditional voice recording, while also transforming their scripts into immersive story voices in real time.”

The other part of the platform’s business sees it work with professional actors to “create models of their voice”.Qureshi explains further that, “any time an actor’s synthetic voice is used, they receive a profit share without needing to perform the labour themselves”.

Adds Qureshi: “This also enables the actors to work on multiple projects at once. From the feedback we’ve received so far, our actors are grateful for the consistency of work this brings to their unpredictable schedules.”

As noted by TechCrunch, Sonantic recently built a custom AI voice model for actor Val Kilmer, which was used in the most recent Top Gun film, Top Gun: Maverick.

Some of the use cases for the voice market referenced by Qureshi in her blog post include “advertising and call centres to robots and audiobooks”.The news of Sonantic’s acquisition follows last week’s Spotify Investor Day, where CEO Daniel Ek outlined SPOT’s intentions to double down on the audiobook format.Ek noted in his opening remarks that audiobooks are an “annual opportunity of $70 billion dollars for us to expand and eventually compete for”.

Today’s news follows Spotify’s announcement in November that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire audiobook distribution company Findaway.

Ziad Sultan, Spotify’s Vice President of Personalization, said: “We’re really excited about the potential to bring Sonantic’s AI voice technology onto the Spotify platform and create new experiences for our users.

“This integration will enable us to engage users in a new and even more personalized way.”

Sonantic co-founders Zeena Qureshi and John Flynn in a joint statement added: “We’re looking forward to joining Spotify and continuing to build exciting voice experiences.

“We believe in the power voice has and its ability to foster a deeper connection with listeners around the world, and we know we can be better than ever on the world’s largest audio platform.”

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