Now that I’ve had more time to think about the Voices Dot Com acquisition of Voicebank, I’m starting to wonder about the long-term effects this could have on the voiceover industry…
In the past ten years or so, P2P sites like VDC and online services like Voicebank have become “part of a balanced breakfast” for some voice talents and the sole form of sustenance for others. This happened primarily because of affordable home recording facilities and the Internet. That resulted in an industry invasion of aspiring voice talents with little or no training, shady demo producers, predatory coaches, and other products & services with questionable intent. A “race to the bottom”, some would say.
In reaction to the Voicebank acquisition, many agents (at least six that I know of) will no longer use Voicebank. Many voice talents told their representation that are sticking with Voicebank they will not audition for Voicebank-generated projects. That means less voice talent will audition for some projects. That could also mean less revenue for both the talent and the agencies in question. Agencies may shrink their roster and if they were too dependent on Voicebank, possibly go out of business. This could make it harder for non-metropolitan area talent to find an agent since they can’t audition in person. Some who are too dependent on online castings may have to change their vocation.
Is this a good thing, a bad thing, or just a thing?
It may be the natural consequence of technology and “progress”, if that’s what you want to call it. When the light bulb was invented, how many people mourned for the candle and oil lamp industries? My guess is not too many. Personally, I think it’s a bad thing because casting directors were one of the gatekeepers connecting quality projects and quality talent at quality rates. Some would say that’s the purpose of the union and that may be true, to a point.
Is it possible that the convenience of posting casting notices and auditioning online has made agents and talent lazy? Entitled? How many of us would have a voiceover career without home recording, the Internet, and Pay to Play sites? Despite my living in close proximity to New York City, my voiceover career didn’t go anywhere until I joined the wonderful online community The Voiceover Bulletin Board, built a home recording facility, and joined a Pay To Play site. Even then it took me another five years for my career to take off.
TIP OF THE WEEK
Is this the natural evolution of the voiceover industry or a hostile takeover? Will this “thin the herd” and the quality agencies & talent will rise to the top? Or will this make things worse with ever-lower rates, more know-nothing newbs, more snake oil salesmen…?
Much of this reminds me of what the Internet did to record labels, radio stations, newspapers, and ad agencies. Many, many, many of them went out of business because they couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt.
I don’t know about you, but I am going to take a long, hard look at my business model. Be you agent or talent, you need to adapt to this new reality in the way it will best suit your business.
NEWS AND NOTES
Reminder! Thursday August 31st: my August Edge Studio “Marketing 201” topic will be: 4 Words That Will Kill Your Marketing. Click here to register.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
From my village to yours; this is Tom Dheere, The H is Silent, but I’m Not.
Tom Dheere is a 20-year veteran of the voice over industry who has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries. He is also a coach at Edge Studio, voiceover business consultant known as the Voice Over Strategist, and is currently producing the comic book “Agent 1.22”.