Recently, there has been a growing discussion regarding the use of AI specifically in the arena of Audio Book production. Publisher's Weekly recently ran a news article in regards to We at Brick Cave Media have been solicited by a company looking to convert our titles to Audiobook via AI.
Technology advances constantly, and in the last couple years, content creation has been a very strong focus for AI development. Everything from creating blog posts, to outright writing books and now audio book narration has been a clear goal for the AI development community.
These advances have put publishers (and independent authors), particularly smaller ones, in a bit of a awkward middle ground, and could be devastating to the narration talent market. Quality narrators, much like any other service or product, have costs associated with them.
Ironically, the pandemic opened the door to a flood of quality narrators, as the already prior to pandemic heavy demand for audiobooks, coupled with the new pandemic imposed shutdowns suddenly made a number of talented narrators from other related fields such as acting, music, etc. available to work in the field.
What Brick Cave Thinks
Brick Cave itself invested in our audio book offerings, releasing four new audio book titles (so far) in the "pandemic period". The Matriarch's Devise and The Exile's Gift from Sharon Skinner, Platinum Magic from Bruce Davis and The Chronicles of Tavara Tinker: The New World were all products of our push for more audio content. All of those were released with professional narrators.
For our part, Brick Cave prefers to work with human narrators. Not for any technological bias, some of the AI is very convincing (and some let us just say could use some work). We prefer to work with human narrators because we have the ability to, it's a slower process financially because we cannot just "release them all" at the same time. In the end, we feel that we are asking people to invest in the stories told by our creators. We like dealing and interacting with creative people. It's only fair that we do our part to support the livelihood of other creatives as well to the best of our ability.
We cannot say definitively that that would never change, we would love to say we will only sell books through channels other than the "Big Orange Swishy 'A' Guy" (BOSAG for short). But the harsh reality is that we would be done as a business without the BOSAG. We do not have the cultural influence as a business to change people's habits, so we have to work within the system we have to grow and build that influence.
The same is true for technology. Advances in technology are what has allowed Brick Cave to even exist as a business. While we may choose to try and not use a particular piece of technology, being critical of advancement would be a pretty disingenuous stance given our position.
Meet Our Narrators
Two of our audio book narrators, Bree Welch & Nick Selker, have interviews here on the site with more interviews coming.