Spotify Eyes AI For Ads Using Popular Hosts' Voices

In another hint of the likely widespread impacts of AI on advertising creative, Spotify is experimenting with potential use of AI for to mimic popular hosts’ voices for use in podcast ads, according to Bill Simmons, founder of Spotify’s The Ringer Podcast network.

While discussing predictions for AI and other tech with The Atlantic’s editor, Derek Thompson, in an episode of network’s “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” Simmons said: “I don’t think Spotify is going to get mad at me for this, but we’re developing this stuff. There is going to be a way to use my voice for the ads. You have to obviously give the approval for the voice, but it opens up, from an advertising standpoint, all these different great possibilities.”

Those include using the voice to customize messages for local ads for an event ticketing company, for instance, or to translate podcasts to increase their reach, he said.

Taking it to another level for purposes of provoking discussion, he also noted that in theory, AI could even be trained to create whole podcasts that use his voice and play off the topics and opinions he frequently highlights. Which, he noted, would raise the question: “Would people rather interact with the bot or listen to my podcast?”   

That speculation isn’t far-fetched on a technical level. AI-generated fakes of music purporting to be by established artists, including Drake and Travis Scott, have proliferated, causing Spotify to recently take down tens of thousands of imposter tracks posted by the AI startup Boomy, according to reports.

Spotify, which acquired The Ringer network from Simmons in 2020 for nearly $200 million, said in a statement to Insider that the company is “always working to enhance the Spotify experience and test new offerings that benefit creators, advertisers and users. Advertising represents an interesting canvas for future exploration, but we don’t have anything to announce at this time.”

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