ATTENTION VOICE OVER ARTISTS!
I've been a voice-over artist for over 3 years on Upwork and other platforms.
Recently, I came across a few job postings wherein clients have asked for recordings of my voice (either new or existing recordings) for AI training and machine-learning. The price they offer is quite attractive and tempting. The clients are usually from well known and popular Text-to-Speech websites and apps.
But fellow voice-over artists, it's important to know that even though the price is attractive, if we sell our voices to AI training and machine-learning clients, we are sure to lose our jobs sooner or later. Potential clients will be able to get voice-overs done, using our voices, but through these AI websites instead (which we would have made possible by selling our voices for a one time fee).
Please, let's not fall into this trap. The one-time fee is great, but if we lose our gigs, it won't make up for even a fraction of how much we could be earning if we keep our jobs and not be beaten by AI-generated voice overs. PLEASE DON'T SELL YOUR VOICES FOR TEXT-TO-SPEECH AI OR MACHINE-LEARNING PURPOSES.
Hope we can do this together, for our community and for the sake of our own skillset.
I don't do voice-overs, but this is definitely concerning.
Are you saying a potential client could use an AI/ML-powered website/tool; upload your voice pattern using a voice-over you did; and create an entirely new voice-over?
This sounds like a legal issue to me; especially in the U.S.
It sure is concerning, but not from a legal standpoint.
To explain further, there are AI-powered websites and tools that take existing human voice-overs and train their models to voice any data/script provided to them in the future. This allows them to provide AI generated voice-overs that sound more human-like and natural, less robotic.
These companies and websites have legal agreements that freelancers may voluntarily sign before selling their voice-overs to them. These agreements gain full consent from the freelancers, to use their audios for AI/ML-powered text-to-speech services. So legally, they are covered.
They even offer enticing fees (for the short-term), for the sale of these hours of audio to them.
My main concern is the security of a voice-over artist's gig availability. The more these companies train their models to replicate human voices, the more our jobs and gigs are at risk, as voice-over artists.
Apologies for not clearly mentioning the legal aspect of it earlier.
This is exactly how the new generative AI machine learning tools work.
Jobs in voice, graphics, writing, social media posts, programming, financial, accounting, legal and dozens more catagories are already changing due to AI and nobody will be able to stop the process.
The combination of the weak macroeconomy and AI are already reducing the number of available jobs for the Entry and Intermediate positions on Upwork.
Every freelancer needs to immediately increase their Skills toward Expert level. It's the Experts that will use these AI tools so they can do 2x to 10x work at an Expert level therefore reducing client costs for projects.
We all need to control what we can control which is ourselves.
I get TTS job requests from another site I'm on... My reply is always "No." I've even inidicated that I won't ever accept a TTS job.
But my verbal reply in the moment is, "Why would I want to source myself right out of a job?"
Voice-over is my side gig, and thankfully, I've seen posts where clients say they've tried AI, but weren't satisfied... but that is likely going to change as AI gets better. I did also see my first gig site offer all AI voices. It may come sooner rather than later.
The key is getting better at what we do so there's too much value in authentic voices... I know when I listen to AI, I don't feel as connected to what's being presented.
Just my 2 cents.