Jim Conlan, Voice Talent, Coach, Producer:
'If Transparency Questions Still Linger ...'
August 16, 2017
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By Jim Conlan
Voice Talent, Coach, Producer
The first thing that occurred to me upon hearing the news was that it seems like a way for Voice(dot)com to make more money.
The company was founded at a time when talent unions were beginning to wane in influence (indeed, they never really recovered from the strike of '99). They saw an opportunity to connect non-union, non-represented talent to production companies who wanted to pay less.
It seems like their criteria for membership are pretty low: pay your money, post a demo and profile, and take your chances. The more subscriptions they collect, the more money they make.
It wouldn't surprise me if this growth-by-fee strategy is what is attracting Morgan Stanley's $18 million investment.
Second, If transparency questions still linger about how Voices(dot)com pays talent, Voicebank will now fall under that shadow: how much of the client's money do they keep, and how much do they pay the talent?
HOW WILL AGENTS RESPOND?
I'm also curious how talent agencies will respond to this merger, since it's common for agencies to have their talent audition for Voicebank-initiated projects.
Will agents now be forced to deal with Voices(dot)com? If so, how will they be compensated?
One possible outcome would be that agents will band together to force higher rates.
Third, this merger could create another monopoly, forcing other similar companies out of business.
What will become of Voice123? Of Bodalgo? Ultimately, will there be no other way to be hired?
Fourth, what next? David Ciccarelli talks about "all of their audio and voice over requirements, large and small." But he doesn't mention audiobooks! If that's the next grab, I wonder how that will position the major independent audiobook production companies - not to mention Audible itself.
Finally, it looks like every audition sent out by Voicebank to agents could now go through Voices(dot)com. Sounds like we would all have to join Voices(dot)com whether we wanted to or not.
This may be a mis-perception: David claims that Voicebank will continue to function independently. We'll see how much of the truth David and Stephanie are willing to share regarding actual benefits to the people you and I serve: talented voice over professionals.
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