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Audio production in podcasting has always been a draining experience for many . But here's someone, a computer algorithm to be precise, who seems to be promising like an assistant engineer sitting next to you, except that it won’t eat all your chips or borrow your gear. Recently a Delhi based startup Deepsync Technologies Pvt Ltd, that focuses on Artificial Intelligence (AI) sythesised audio production, came up with an AI algorithm that clones human voices. Deepsync's platform allows the user to first record a sample audio, then converts textual content to produce an audio output. This way one does not have to sit long hours recording an audio. The technology is still nacent. The technology is promising as it will help developers, producers and even voice artists build content much faster compared to the traditional way of recording in a studio while reducing the costs and time significantly.
A press release by Deepsync claims, the textual content can be in written format, currently in English or Hindi, which the user wants to convert to audio to build podcasts, audio books, voice assistants or any long form of voice content. The platform then takes the text as input along with a voice sample of at least 20 hours, and their engine then clones the voice taking into consideration the user's accent, dialect and speaking mannerisms to provide the cloned version of the user's voice which is indistinguishable from the original.
Anjan Ghosal of the angel investing firm Ghosal Ventures, recently announced that it will be making an initial investment in Deepsync through Anicut Angel Fund. Funds raised total nearly US$300,000.
Recently HTCast of Hindustan Times introduced an AI powered news cast, which still sounds a little robotic, but holds a promising future for audio production. In a press release Deepsync's CEO Ishan Sharma said, "Our product cuts down costs associated with podcasting and audio book production which require time and capital to create audio content." He added, "Using our platform, an organization can simply use existing pre-recorded samples of voice artists and keep on creating new content without the need of that artist."
"AI generated voice is now an integral part of everyday life and the demand for content is significant" said Anjan Ghosal, Managing Director for Ghosal Ventures. "The Deepsync product offers a combination of high quality, rapid production and reasonable cost, exactly what the market needs." Ghosal Ventures is providing an angel round of funding as a lead investor, invested through Anicut Angel Fund, along with other angel investors. "Deepsync already has a functioning product with clients onboard" added Mr. Ghosal. "Our goal is to take them to the next level, expand the development of the platform and broaden their market scope."
About Deepsync Technologies (www.deepsync.co)
Deepsync Technologies uses AI to make audio production 10x better to meet the demand of high-quality content in multiple languages. Once cloned, the platform can create high quality audio content at 90% less time and cost. The company, based in Delhi India, was founded by Ishan Sharma (CEO) and Rishikesh K (CTO). Sharma has extensive experience in business and strategy, having worked for Rocketium and Hackmind. Rishikesh has significant expertise in Deep Learning coming from Humonics and Nucleus.
"Nice White Parents is brought to you by Serial Productions, a New York Times company." That's what one hears first when hearing the just concluded five-episode podcast series that began July 22. One of the biggest acquisition of a podcast production house will be officially undertaken in the coming few weeks. The New York Times Company agreed to buy Serial Productions, the company behind the hit podcast called “Serial,” hosted by Sarah Koenig. For those who are yet to hear this ‘True Crime’ podcast should go here. The Times representatives announced on July 22, that the move will “broaden its digital journalism.”
Serial Productions will now increase the number of shows it makes claims the executive editor of Serial Productions, Julie Snyder. Serial’s creators Julie Synder and Sarah Koenig will become Times staff members as the Executive Editor and Executive Producer of Serial Productions, respectively. Serial Productions was founded in 2017 by Snyder; Sarah Koenig, the host of “Serial”; and Ira Glass, the host of “This American Life.”
The shows will be promoted on The NYT website, in its newsletters and through its other channels. In an interview published in the New York Times, an assistant managing editor who oversees The Times’s audio efforts Sam Dolnick says, “The idea is to drive New York Times readers and listeners toward Serial projects”. He added, “There’s going to be ways that we can help Serial tell more stories, bigger stories and, down the road, figure out how our newsroom and theirs can coordinate even more deeply.” The Times paid approximately $25 million for Serial productions according to the NYT report.
“Serial,” the series that investigated whether a Baltimore high school student, Adnan Syed, really killed his ex-girlfriend in 1999, was a hit when it came out in 2014 as a spinoff of the popular public radio show and podcast “This American Life.” It was followed by a second investigative journalism project, “S-Town,” from Serial and “This American Life.”
The Serial deal also follows NYT’s acquisition of Audm, a startup that makes audio content out of longform journalism. The company will be going toe to toe with Spotify--a streaming service, which has been on a splurge to purchase podcast exclusivity.
Last year Spotify purchased Gimlet and Anchor for a combined $340 million and more recently acquired exclusive rights to the controversial Joe Rogan Experience.
As with Serial acquisition, The Times, had established a “creative and strategic” partnership with “This American Life” to develop ideas for stand-alone podcasts that could run under the Serial banner. The Times has moved steadily into audio and visual storytelling in recent years, as newspapers around the country continue to face an eroding print media business.
Its worth pointing out here is that in 2017, The Times introduced the news podcast “The Daily,” and in 2019, the company teamed with FX and Hulu to begin a TV newsmagazine, “The Weekly,” which was recently rebranded as the monthly documentary series “The New York Times Presents.”
Multilingual- multi-generational podcast platform, Suno India has announced that it has received an angel funding from co-founder and CEO of Arka Media Works, Shobu Yarlagadda. The Telugu film production company is wellknown for its popular fantasy-action film franchise ‘Baahubali‘.
The podcast platform is now 2 years old and the fresh funding will help in repositioning itself in the Indian podcast industry. The platform plans to expands its vernacular content, reports indianweb2.com. The podcast startup plans to reach 500 million listeners with content that even matter to lesser represented communities across cities in India. In 2019, the Suno India podcast received funding from the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF) to expand its programs.
UK based podcast host platform Captivate, which recently announced their recent Amazon Music and Gaana distribution partnerships, have announced all Captivate podcasters can submit their podcast to another of India’s biggest audio streaming platforms, Jiosaavn ----their latest distribution partner. JioSaavn is a digital distributor for Bollywood, English and other regional Indian music and podcasts with an estimated user base of 100 million active listeners. Captivate will finish 1 year in existence on August 29.
In their latest blog post Captivate claimed , “Our partnership with Jiosaavn is another step towards giving our podcasters a truly international distribution network.” It further added , “India is witnessing a huge podcast boom and is the third fastest-growing country for podcast content creation. By submitting to directories like Jiosaavn and Gaana, you’ll open your podcast up to millions of international podcast fans. What could be better!”