Spotify is testing an exciting feature that translates podcasts into various languages, maintaining the original speaker’s voice. The Voice Translation tool, a product of OpenAI’s innovation, ensures that translated content maintains a personal touch, setting it apart from usual dubbing methods.
Ziad Sultan, Spotify’s Vice President of Personalisation, commented, “Voice Translation gives global listeners a chance to connect with new podcasters in an authentic manner.” He believes that AI can build deeper connections between creators and their audience.
Prominent Podcasters Onboard
Spotify collaborates with well-known podcasters such as Dax Shepard, Monica Padman, Lex Fridman, Bill Simmons, and Steven Bartlett. These creators will offer AI-powered voice translations of chosen episodes in languages including Spanish, French, and German.
Some episodes available for translation are:
Lex Fridman Podcast – “Interview with Yuval Noah Harari”
Armchair Expert – “Kristen Bell, by the grace of god, returns”
The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett – “Interview with Dr. Mindy Pelz”
For All Ears, Everywhere.
Both Premium and Free tier listeners can access the voice-translated episodes. The Spanish versions are already live, and users can expect French and German renditions soon. Eager listeners can visit the dedicated Voice Translations Hub for these episodes, which will regularly feature updated content.
Feedback from the pilot will be valuable in refining the feature and its broader rollout. The main goal is to engage more listeners around the world with content that resonates.
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OpenAI’s New Voice Technology
OpenAI, the company responsible for the voice translation technology, recently announced a tool capable of producing “human-like audio” from a brief text and speech sample. They’ve voiced their intention to control the initial distribution of this tool, emphasizing safety and privacy.
Generative AI tools, such as the one employed by Spotify, have been in the spotlight lately. The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT last November was a significant moment. OpenAI faces accusations from several authors, claiming the company used their work without consent to train ChatGPT.
Worries surrounding AI’s role in traditionally human domains have also been brought up. For example, a US union representing screen actors started a strike in July over AI’s role in the industry.
Spotify’s Business Changes
Spotify invested heavily in its podcast segment, aiming to produce content free from royalty fees per download. But this approach had its drawbacks. Expenses grew faster than revenues, leading to a business adjustment in June, which meant 200 staff members were let go.
Sahar Elhabashi, Spotify’s podcast business leader, shared that the focus would now be on forming collaborations with top global podcasters and producing select original content.
Advertisements and Financial Hurdles
The podcast domain’s expansion aims to attract more advertisers because of the format’s engagement rates. Yet, increased costs have been a topic of discussion. The company’s expenses escalated quickly last year, paired with reduced ad spending due to high interest rates and inflation.
Spotify’s Voice Translation feature marks a step in enhancing global podcast enjoyment. Through collaborations and the capabilities of AI technology, Spotify aims to redefine the podcast listening experience.