Report: “Death of the Narrator? Apple Unveils Suite of AI-Voiced Audiobooks”
From The Guardian:
Apple has quietly launched a catalogue of books narrated by artificial intelligence in a move that may mark the beginning of the end for human narrators. The strategy marks an attempt to upend the lucrative and fast-growing audiobook market – but it also promises to intensify scrutiny over allegations of Apple’s anti-competitive behaviour.
On the company’s Books app, searching for “AI narration” reveals the catalogue of works included in the scheme, which are described as being “narrated by digital voice based on a human narrator”.
In recent months, Apple approached independent publishers as potential partners, including some in the Canadian market, but not all agreed to participate.
Authors were told that Apple – which at the time was not named as the company behind the technology – would shoulder the costs of production and writers would receive royalties from sales.
Publishers involved in the project were required to sign non-disclosure agreements – common in the technology field – but also reflective of Apple’s notorious pursuit of secrecy.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.