Spotify AI

Spotify Plans Generative AI Voice Clones for Podcast Ads

Spotify may start offering podcasters a synthetic version of their own voice to use for advertising. The same technology underlying the AI DJ released in February could also provide a model for hosts to skip having to spend a lot of time reading ad copy while still lending their voice to the sponsored audio content, The Ringer (acquired by Spotify in 2020) founder Bill Simmons said on the May 19 episode of his eponymous podcast.

Synthetic Podcast Ads

Simmons was responding to a suggestion from journalist and podcaster Derek Thompson about how AI-generated voice clones could be used for advertising and marketing when he mentioned the strategy in the works at Spotify. He suggested the voice clones could help enhance ads with geo-targeted pitches and even translations into other languages.

“I don’t think Spotify is going to get mad at me for this, we’re developing that stuff, and there is going to be a way to use my voice for the ads,” Simmons said. “You have to obviously give the approval for the voice, but it opens up, from an advertising standpoint, all these different great possibilities for you.”

Spotify hasn’t confirmed the plan, but it could work much like the AI DJ. Spotify’s head of cultural partnerships and host of its morning show, The Get Up, Xavier “X” Jernigan is the model for the AI DJ. Spotify processed samples of Jernigan speaking through the synthetic voice platform developed by Sonantic, which Spotify acquired last June. Sonantic’s technology is best known for generating a deepfake of Val Kilmer’s voice for the Top Gun: Maverick film.

There’s undoubtedly demand for deepfake ads. The unsolicited ad for Tesla starring a fake Ryan Reynolds and the Aviation Gin ad starring a fake Elon Musk were short-lived but incredibly popular during their brief time on social media. It could go beyond advertising as well. Simmons’ reference to translating ads could apply to the whole podcast, something iHeartMedia turned to Veritone for help with more than a year ago.

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