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VOICES-VOICEBANK MERGER - PART 4
Voicebank CEO Responds To Concerns About
Voices Merger: 'Projects Remain Secure & Private'
August 18, 2017
See Part 1: Voices(dot)com Rocks Voice Over Industry With Voicebank Buyout
See Part 2: Integrating Voicebank and Voices: Speculation Abounds
See Part 3: Responding to Change: You Have Voice and Choice
See Part 5: Agents - Union - Voices' Letters

(VOXtra) - It's been a heady 10 days since voice over online casting giant Voices(dot)com announced its purchase of Voicebank(net).
FYI: Voices sends auditions online directly to voice actors, while Voicebank caters to agents who pass the online auditions to voice actors on their rosters.
In recent days, in a three-part series, VoiceOverXtra reported on industry speculation about the future operations and practices of the two firms, including a possible blending of all operations and imposing Voices' transaction fees on future Voicebank transactions. Voice actors particularly object to those fees, as they cut into income earned on each job.

VoiceOverXtra invited Voices Founder/CEO David Ciccarelli and Voicebank Founder/CEO Jeff Hixon to amplify on their plans.

On Thursday, Hixon replied by email that the Voicebank team "is still in place" and that "Voicebank projects remain secure and private.

"These projects are not shared with the large Voices(dot)com marketplace," adds Hixon, who launched Voicebank in 1998.

Hixon did not address the issue of fees.

And he asks the voice over community to
"allow us the time to show the positive effects of this acquisition as we strive towards the goals we all share;  more work for talent agencies and actors."

Following are Jeff Hixon's full remarks:

"Thank you for inviting me to participate in the conversation regarding the Voices(dot)com acquisition of Voicebank(dot)net.

"The entire Voicebank team is still in place and Voicebank projects remain secure and private. These Voicebank projects are not shared with the large Voices(dot)com marketplace. Maintaining this kind of 'exclusivity' is essential to the continued success of the Voicebank network.

"As you may know, Voicebank has worked very hard to earn the respect and trust of talent agencies over these last 18 years. These relationships are paramount to Voicebank and are in the best interest of Voices(dot)com as we work together to achieve  growth and increased productivity.

"We believe working together with Voices(dot)com will help to expand the opportunities for our talent agency and ad agency clients as well as help with the creation of more union projects within the Voicebank system.

"My request of the voice over community is to allow us the time to show the positive effects of this acquisition as we strive towards the  goals we all share; more work for talent agencies and actors."
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Comments (6)
DJG
8/25/2017 at 9:00 AM
Has anyone touched on the subject of how fee's won't be regulated since voices(dot)com (or, we can nickname them - fees.com) is located in Canada?

I am under the impression that is located in the U.S. - about 10% as an 'agent/agency' is about all they could legally get. But, since it is Canada, there is no stopping the egregious fee's the continue to charge.

I feel like voices(dot)com is like airline carriers... nickle and dime you to death.
jennifer m dixon
8/19/2017 at 4:32 PM
Thank you, John, for keeping us informed and trying to make sense of all of this. I must admit I'm still befuddled by all the speculation,hypotheticals and what ifs! So much like Amazon and Audible.com and ITunes all muddled together to take cuts from us all.

I will be interested to hear David C's response - if he does, that is!!
Joel
8/19/2017 at 9:48 AM
I'm actually very surprised that SAG hasn't taken a stand on any of this. Union agents are restricted in what and when they can charge talent money/percentage. I hope the Union leadership is watching this very closely.
Nancy
8/18/2017 at 5:24 PM
"These Voicebank projects are not shared with the large Voices(dot)com marketplace." This doesn't mean ANYTHING. Just because auditions aren't opened to the entire VDC marketplace they're still under the control and purview of VDC to do with and manipulate as they wish. They bought the marketplace just because they're not making every job open for bidding doesn't mean it's not subject to their very clearly stated ambitions and goals.

"We believe working together with Voices(dot)com will help to expand the opportunities for our talent agency and ad agency clients as well as help with the creation of more union projects within the Voicebank system."

That is antithetical to VDCs history, openly, well stated goals and it's not in the best interest of VDC. Agents and casting directors are an impediment to greater profit a help to them.

Such empty, saving face statements.
Paul Strikwerda
8/18/2017 at 2:30 PM
Thank you for asking Mr. Hixon to respond. I'm afraid his rather short reaction does nothing to allay the fears of many in the voice-over community. At this point, it is too little, too late. The damage has been done, and since there's very little trust in voices dot com (VDC), there's very little trust in Voicebank.

Hixon admitted that he and Ciccarelli have "a similar vision for the future." What might that vision be? How will it benefit the voice-over community? Why make a deal with an unethical, greedy, non transparent business partner in the first place? Hixon has a lot of explaining to do. Because of the nature of the business he's in bed with, I have trouble giving him the benefit of the doubt. After all, the character of a man is known by the company he keeps.
Jodi Krangle
8/18/2017 at 2:12 PM
Not sure I'm buying this, though I'll be watching very closely. The bottom line? I don't think Voices dot com cares at all about the agents or the talent on Voicebank. They want access to the voice SEEKERS - who previously went specifically to agents through Voicebank in order to make their jobs easier (a one stop shop to reach all the agents and rosters that they wanted to). VDC wants all those jobs to be filtered through them - thereby getting a much bigger portion of the dollar pie (than they deserve). Surepay is already at 20% and is currently unavoidable. You can't opt out if you participate in VDC. Their "Managed" jobs (still not really sure what they "manage" precisely) can take a HUGE portion of the voice seeker's budget - without them even being aware of it. They think they're getting a $4000 talent ... and they're really getting a $400 talent.

Time will tell how this all shakes up. I'm disappointed that Voicebank has chosen to align with VDC considering their shady business practices. I'm afraid I'm not hopeful. But I'm not *scared* either. I'll be just fine. And so will other voice talent who decide to be proactive in this uncertain time.

Thanks for helping to get the info out, John. You're a gem. :)
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