Has voiceover changed in the last 20 years?

Aug 12, 2020
In the history of voice-over, the last 20 years have probably seen more changes to the industry than ever before! 
We’ll expand as best we can on all the various impacts on the industry in the below article and how it will impact you...

Q: I have done voiceover in the past, but I want to get back into it, what do I need to do now?

If you’ve decided to take a fresh look at the voiceover industry before you pull on your togs and flippers and dive in head first, here are some important aspects to consider, to help you navigate the ‘white water rapids’ on your VO Journey...

Agents vs. Online websites

In the good ol’ days you had an agent ...or you didn’t work. It was that simple.
The talent agent role in some ways hasn’t changed much, and in other ways,
has almost changed completely! The main difference these days?
Agents now have to present their services online also just as we do and agents actively have to compete with voice websites, independent voice talent (like you and I), and freelancer sites.
20 Years ago, the way you’d seek out voice talent was solely through an advertising agency or an agent who managed their voice talents appointments and audition bookings and were paid a commission to the tune of 15 - 20% on the jobs their talent received! 
Everyone that worked in voiceover was represented by one or more agents, and had usually come from a background in Radio or Films or TV and was either part of a ‘stable’ or a roster that belonged to an advertising agency, which was usually connected to a production studio and was solely managed by one or a series of agents…

Digital Agents are now online too, in the form of websites

In order to compete, Agents have had to change the way they offer representation and like today’s voice talent, can now market themselves online globally, focussing on best service and a unique stable of voice talent on their books.
Agents have had to become similar to voiceover websites in that they offer their management services online, but ‘set themselves apart’ by offering to manage the ‘more unique and higher standard’ voice talent available. Where agents differ from voiceover websites is: Websites don’t offer any ‘management’ of your voice portfolio other than hosting your profile, there is no ‘seeking of jobs’ for you exclusively.

Coaching? Do I really need it?

20 years ago, one of the most popular requests for a voiceover read probably would have been something like… Warm, Authoritative, Powerful, and Sultry maybe?
Terms in your average voiceover copy brief were certainly not conversational, engaging, genuine, and sincere! What I’m suggesting is the world has moved generally from an ‘Announcers Paradise’ to the engaging, conversational, and vulnerable narration.
Then there’s video game work and audiobooks to contend with also.
Because of these changes in trends and projects of a digital nature, it’s super important to seek out a ‘good coach’ that can introduce you to, coach, and mentor you through the styles and voice techniques required to compete in today’s voiceover landscape.

What’s a good coach? - Someone who is successfully working in the current voiceover industry landscape and has the runs on the board and the income to prove it.

The Gig Economy

One thing is for sure, The Gig economy didn’t exist 20 years ago as it does today!

However, it’s important to consider as it has a major impact on how we do business in voiceover and also in an ever-growing list of industries and the Gig economy will inevitably continue to impact our collective entrepreneurial futures. 
With big thanks to Marg Rouse (Tech target) from whatis.com 
Here’s a more concise definition of the Gig economy:


‘A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations hire independent workers for short-term commitments. The term "gig" is a slang word for a job that lasts a specified period of time; it is typically used by musicians and creatives. Examples of gig employees in the workforce could include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires.
The trend toward a gig economy has begun. A study by Intuit predicted that by 2020,
40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors. There are a number of forces behind the rise in short-term jobs. For one thing, in the digital age, the workforce is becoming more mobile and work can increasingly be done from anywhere. As a result, job and location are being decoupled. That means that freelancers can select among temporary jobs and projects around the world, while employers can select the best individuals for specific projects from a larger pool than what's available in any given area.
Digitization has also contributed directly to a decrease in jobs as software replaces some types of work to maximize time efficiency. Other influences include financial pressures on businesses leading to a flexible workforce and the entrance of the millennial generation into the labor market. The current reality is that people tend to change jobs several times throughout their working lives and the gig economy can be seen as an evolution of that trend’.
The ‘take aways’ to consider from Marg’s definition...
Employers can select the best individuals for specific projects from a larger pool than what's available in any given area. Competition in the freelancing space is fierce and will only continue to be so.  
That’s why It’s imperative that you bring your ‘A game’ to any audition or project you become involved in. that means good audio, good editing, and a practiced, confident, and well established ‘tone of voice’...
Digitization has also contributed directly to a decrease in jobs as software replaces some types of work to maximize time efficiency.

By definition, It’s also by digitization that we have the opportunity to build studios at home and offer our voiceover services to the commercial market. This can only be seen as an increase in growth opportunities, as we market our voices to the world... 

A study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors.
Given where the world’s economy is today, and the projections of the Gig Economy, It’s my tip that these figures will only continue to grow into the future.

Social Media has leveled the playing field for small business owners

It’s due largely to social media that we have the capability to communicate and market to most countries worldwide. It’s also the reason small business owners can now step around the ‘traditional advertising agency’ route and go directly to voice artists via voiceover websites to seek their services.
We have many different forms of Social Media sites at our disposal, but in my opinion, here’s the current big three you need to have a profile on:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin. 
If you are already on these sites regularly, that’s great, If not, it’s time you got connected! 

We’re lucky that the English language and the neutral American accent is as popular and as in demand as it is across the world. When you think about it, there is no better time than now to be setting yourself up as a voice talent.

It’s all up to you now...

Q: When is the best time to plant an apple tree?

A: Ten years ago!
Q: When is the second-best time to plant an apple tree?
A: Today! 
If you’d like to ‘stake your claim’ in the current voiceover industry, you’ve got some work to do on your marketing, your social media profiles, and of course, building your client base.

If you’d like some help with building your client base, CLICK HERE

If you’d like to talk about selecting a Coach to suit you, CLICK HERE

If you’d like to make a start on developing your social media, CLICK HERE 

To your ongoing voiceover success,

Anthony Pica


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