Death of the Narrator Apple Announces a New Line of AI-voiced Audiobooks
“When you combine great writing with a skilled narration, you are creating something unique.” This is worth the investment.
One Canadian literary agent stated to the Guardian that she didn’t see the value of the Guardian from either a customer or literary perspective prior to the launch.
“Companies recognize the potential for profit in audiobooks. They want to create content. It’s not enough. Customers don’t want to hear it. Carly Watters said that storytelling and narration have so much value.
Professional voice actors can backlash, but authors are being increasingly asked to narrate books. The writers have a financial incentive, with both upfront payments and increased availability of their work.
Producing an audiobook with a human voice takes weeks, and can result in publishers spending thousands of dollars. Artificial intelligence promises to dramatically reduce costs.
Computer-generated voices still struggle to keep listeners’ attention for long periods of time. They also have to overcome the “uncanny valley” effect of synthetic humans speaking. It is notoriously hard to predict and reproduce human intonation or inflection.
Apple has been selling audiobooks and books through its Books app for years
Rumors have swirled that Apple is interested in creating its own audiobook service, shifting from being a reseller to becoming a producer.
However, the move is a direct attack on Amazon’s rival. Apple listed the advantages it claimed its system offers over Kindle Direct Publishing.
Apple and Amazon, which own the audiobook market leader Audible, had previously indicated that they were looking into AI narration technology. However, Google was the most open about its breakthroughs and efforts.
The battle for control of the audiobook market was a heated one even before Apple’s entry. After its app was rejected three more times, Spotify fought with Apple for control of the audiobook market.
Spotify claimed that Apple’s cumbersome process of purchasing audiobooks makes it difficult to find the next favorite author or book on its newly launched website Time To Play Fair. This was in defense of its position.
Apple’s policies, it claims, have led to “in addition to consumers being hurt,” publishers and authors being punished.
Apple defended its rejection of the offer by saying that Spotify’s audiobooks violate the rules regarding online purchases and how it communicates to customers.
Apple already sells audiobooks. However, this latest move will raise more questions about Apple’s anti-competitive behavior. In the wake of claims that Apple restricts competition, lawmakers in Europe as well as the United States are increasing their scrutiny of the company.
Apple charges a 30% commission on all product and service sales made through its app store. A recent antitrust case involving Epic Games has highlighted the strict regulations surrounding the app shop as well as the immense profitability.
Apple recently made $78.13bn in high-margin service business sales, which include apps as well as music, gaming, and streaming services.
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