streaming giant Spotify, best known for its consumer-facing music streaming and podcast services, is acquiring a voice AI company to expand its footprint in audio technology. too much. The company today announced the acquisition sonantica London-based startup that created an artificial intelligence engine to create highly realistic-sounding yet simulated human voices from text.
You may not know the name Sonantic, but you may have seen his work. The company was founded to create realistic AI-based voice services for gaming and entertainment environments. helped bring Val Kilmer’s voice to life in Top Shooter: Maverick. In real life, the actor can’t speak like he used to because of throat cancer; so in the sequel, where he reprized his role as Tom Cruise’s foil (and now friend), his condition and the simulated voice created by Sonantic were written into the film’s plot.
The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal. Sonantic raised less than $3 million in funding from an interesting group of investors that included EQT Ventures, Entrepreneur First (EF), AME Cloud Ventures, Bart Swanson of Horizons Ventures, Kevin Lin of Twitch, Jeremy Jap, Charles Jolly and others.
It’s also unclear what the timing of the acquisition was and whether it was related to a startup looking for additional funds, or the success of a high-profile film, or something else.
“We’ve known about Sonantic’s technology for a long time,” a company spokesperson said in response to a question. He also said that the entire Sonantic team will sit in the “Consumer and Platforms Bureau on a Personalization Mission” under Ziad Sultan, who is VP of Personalization at Spotify.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to bring Sonantic AI voice technology to the Spotify platform and create new experiences for our users,” Sultan said in a statement. “This integration will allow us to engage users in a new and even more personalized way.”
Spotify notes in a blog post that it sees “several potential text-to-speech opportunities on our platform” and by the looks of it, the most immediate applications for using the technology will indeed be on Spotify itself, especially as it expands. its access to new environments where consumers cannot immerse themselves in on-screen interaction, such as in vehicles, through services such as car thinglaunched earlier this year.
One example of how Spotify can leverage this technology is using AI voices to provide additional audio guidance and descriptions to users who are not looking at their screens—for example, those who drive or listen while performing other activities and are unable to watch. to the screen.
“We believe that in the long term, high-quality voice will be essential to increase our listening share,” it says.
It’s interesting to consider what plans Spotify might have for Sonantic’s existing operations, which are more focused on the B2B business, if any. We noted that when the company last announced funding, it had 10 R&D partnerships with AAA game studios and is a regular presence at events like GDC.
“Regarding Sonantic’s existing business relationship, we are still working it out with Sonantic, but it’s business as usual at the moment,” the spokesperson said.
AI built to imitate voice is a very interesting technology for a company like Spotify, which could potentially have many other applications.
Considering how much the company has relied on podcasting to complement the music and tools it creates for creators—both those in the podcasting field and those in music production—there is potential to leverage what Sonantic has created to develop tools. which creators could use. use to make podcast production easier or come up with completely new ways to engage with your audience.
Along with this, there is the idea that Spotify could continue Sonantic’s relationship with game and entertainment studios, representing a new front for Spotify itself in how it diversifies its business with more enterprise-focused B2B products, an area where Spotify has done little so far but remains a big area for how he can grow and mature.
“We look forward to joining Spotify and continuing to create exciting voice experiences,” Sonantic co-founders Zeena Qureshi and John Flynn said in a joint statement. “We believe in the power of the voice and its ability to foster deeper connection with listeners around the world, and we know we can be better than ever on the world’s largest audio platform.”
Credit: techcrunch.com /