Guts grumble. It is typical. the sound of the digestive system’s muscles contracting. The functioning of the human body. Occasionally, if a microphone is close, those burbles and gurgles are recorded.
Leah Allers and engineer Craig Hinkle aren’t robots, so they don’t have to worry about making weird stomach noises when reading audiobooks. They’re real people worrying about gurgles, debating where to place the accent on the word “increase,” and attending to the minute details of giving a book about how couples communicate a “genuine” voice as they record for Nashville Audiobook Productions in the middle of January.
The Rukkus Room, where Taylor Swift recorded her seven-time platinum self-titled first album, is home to NAP’s recording facility. The waiting area is filled with the aroma of coffee. Hinkle glances from an iPad containing the book’s text to a huge monitor perched on the soundboard in the studio as she listens intently to every word Allers says.
Before starting a new chapter, Allers tells Hinkle, “I want to get some more emotions in these questions.
The popularity of audiobooks is rising. According to Acumen Research and Consulting, the market will increase from roughly $4.2 billion in 2021 to $33.5 billion by 2030. Whether this is a result of the surge in popularity of podcasts, a problem with listening convenience, or a side effect of the epidemic, tech companies and the inevitable emergence of artificial intelligence haven’t ignored it.
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Audiobook purists would find it difficult to comprehend why anyone would choose a synthetic voice over a human one. Yet, time and money may be more persuasive arguments for independent publishers and authors than the value of a creative performance.
The University of Michigan Press doesn’t generate much money from audiobooks. About 100 academic publications written by scholars for scholars or students are released annually by the publisher.
The Development Of Digital Voices
Along with household names like Apple and Google, a growing number of smaller businesses are entering the AI voice market.
Another of them is DeepZen. The 2018 startup DeepZen was motivated by the 2013 film Her, about a guy who falls in love with his AI virtual assistant, and created a natural language processing system that can learn from text and employs licensed human narrators as the source of its AI voices.
University of Michigan professor Watkinson wants to utilize AI to determine which books might be worth paying a person to record. If one is selling very well, the gain can make the expense justifiable. He enjoys listening to audiobooks.
This is a way-point for us to get human narrators, he declared.
Not everybody is upbeat. Some in the business are concerned that there won’t be as many opportunities for narrators who aren’t well-known or don’t have large fan bases.
None of this implies that narrators will be looking for work the next week. In the past three years, John Behrens, the owner of Nashville Audiobook Productions, has effectively served as quality control for two AI-generated books. The AI still encountered problems. It had difficulty pronouncing Bible texts and answering the text’s rhetorical inquiries.
According to Behrens, a poor audiobook can generate 50 to 100 entries for problems that need to be rectified. The AI created a large number. That makes him think that, at least initially, human narrators won’t disappear. He cautions against losing control.
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