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Voice Over 'Buyouts' Are Not Always Bad!
How To Figure What Types Are OK For You

By Tom Dheere
Voice Actor & Business & Marketing Coach

What is a buyout? Buyouts are common in non-union voice over work, yet many voice actors are confused and fear them.

What does it mean, and how does it affect job rates?

A buyout refers to when a voice over client pays you a usage fee for a certain period of time. Sometimes that period of time is forever, or in perpetuity. A full buyout is in perpetuity.

A rebuy is an agreement to use a spot for an additional period of time. With this option, they have to pay you again. Learn more about usage fees here.


Non-broadcast content is often long-form, internal, or unfit for commercial use.

When booking these jobs, I assume that the content will live on the company's website, shared on social media profiles, or used internally. I fold usage into my quoted rate and don't sweat a full buyout in perpetuity because it will most likely not conflict with other jobs I take.

Broadcast buyouts can be trickier. Voice seekers offering a full buyout for a broadcast project can lead to conflicts with future work in similar markets. If you lend your voice to a client in perpetuity, that could do long-term damage to your voice over career.


When you book a voice over gig, put the length of the usage in your calendar to be sure don't encounter conflicts of interest.

At the end of a buyout period, reach out to the clients for a potential rebuy or extension of the buyout period. It's an easy way to reconnect with a client and gain extra passive income.

Understand the usage before agreeing to buyouts. They are not always bad! When in doubt, run from broadcast buyouts.
Tom Dheere is the VO Strategist, a voice over business and marketing coach and demo producer since 2011. He is also a voice actor with over 20 years of experience who has narrated just about every type of voice over you can think of. As a voice over coach, he offers a free 15-minute consultation. And when not voicing or talking about voicing, he produces the sci-fi comic book Agent 1.22.

Agent 1.22


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Comments (1)
Brad Avenyou
11/10/2022 at 6:40 PM
Yes, 'buy-out' and 'in-perp': Most pro voice-sellers and voice-buyers understand those terms, and why they're not synonymous. Often misunderstood is "Digital broadcast": (paid web placement), the cousin to those ol' legacy platforms 'TV broadcast' and 'Radio broadcast'.
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