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How Generative AI is Transforming Audio Content

It’s fair to say the immediate public response to generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E has been pretty overwhelming – A mix of surprise, delight, and fear. The impact has been felt not only by individual users, but also by tech titans as big as Alphabet, who rushed to launch their own AI-powered search feature in an effort not to be left behind in the latest tech goldrush.

Beyond search, the impact on content creators is also staggering. If AI can produce a human-like blog post or image in a matter of seconds with a simple text prompt, it has huge implications for the creative industries and millions who work in them. But while the focus in recent months has been on images and text, another frontier is ripe for disruption by generative AI: audio.

Speech synthesis has existed as far back as the 1960s but has made huge leaps forward in the past few years. The most obvious examples are in the entertainment industry, a notable case being Disney’s use of technology to recreate the voice of James Earl Jones as Darth Vader. Major media companies like iHeartMedia have also found use cases for voice cloning in their podcast and radio distribution, such as translating English language podcasts into Spanish to widen their market.

How Can Individual Audio Content Creators Deploy AI?

Demand for generative AI for audio content also exists outside of large enterprise businesses. Podcasting has become a popular channel for in-house marketers, solopreneurs, and small businesses to promote their brands and engage with their customers in a more authentic way. Yet, they often face two particular roadblocks: 1) a lack of technical knowledge and 2) a lack of time.

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If you’re a one-person army trying to run a business, marketing and promotion is a small part of the mix, so you need to get as much bang for your buck as possible. You’ll likely already be training yourself to be an expert in finance, negotiation, website management, and more. Producing a podcast sounds fun, but where does the time and expertise come from?

AI is helping to solve both of these issues and transforming the way creators are able to generate new audio content. First, it can help improve audio quality and remove gaps and unwanted noises from recordings, making it faster and easier to produce professional-sounding audio content.Second, voice cloning technology is helping individual content creators produce audio content at scale by allowing them to clone their voices and then use text-to-speech technology to create podcasts just by typing. This reduces the need for a studio set-up and means content can be created on-the-go without lugging around audio equipment.

This voice cloning can be achieved in a matter of minutes by recording specific sentences, which are then analyzed and recreated by AI into a voice ‘skin’, which can read out words aloud. While it’s already been possible to use artificially generated voices to “read” content, the level of personalization involved in using your own voice is a completely different prospect. It means that in the same way that an AI that can write blog posts and headlines levels the playing field for individual creators who lack the time and expertise, it can also help small business owners and freelancers create quality audio content at scale.

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