Welcome to an audio-led edition of Unmade.
Today’s edition of The Unmakers features Abe Udy, the founder and owner of one of Australia’s longest established audio production houses Abe’s Audio, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend.
Further down, a bad day on the Unmade Index as it spends a second day below the 600-point trapdoor.
The only way to access Unmade’s full archive, and our weekly Tuesdata analysis, is as a paying member. Another benefit is a complimentary ticket to next month’s end-of-year Compass event, taking place in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
‘I don't think you can beat real humanness’: audio guru Abe Udy on harnessing AI
Abe Udy will already be a familiar voice to listeners of the Unmade podcast - he’s been editing our Monday Start the Week podcast since its inception and has been hosting it for more than a year.
Using early MP3 technology and dial-up internet, Udy started Abe’s Audio at the age of 18 from his bedroom. Abe's Audio has since grown to over 20 staff and produces audio content for hundreds of creative agencies, media companies, eLearning providers, video producers, animators and podcasters.
Tomorrow Abe’s Audio celebrates its silver anniversary.
One familiar Abe’s Audio creation is the ‘koala masala’ jingle for The Pitch on ABC’s Gruen.
By the end of last year, Abe’s Audio had produced over 500,000 jobs (and 1.2 million scripts). In conversation with Unmade’s Tim Burrowes, Udy discusses how he cut his teeth in audio, his beginnings in radio, building and scaling the business, disruption in the audio space, and Dashi, the AI platform he co-founded earlier this year, which functions as a project management platform that enables media companies to produce commercial audio content efficiently at scale.
“Twenty five years ago, the world looked very different in terms of audio,” Udy explains. “To make the commercials, you would use only local announcers, so three or four voices, and that was it. So all the ads sounded essentially sounded very similar, sounded the same, and stations really didn't have an option to be able to get other voiceover talent.”
“The space that I found myself in 25 years ago, I thought, hang on, wouldn't it be great if we could use voiceover talent from one radio station, for example, and make it available to another station.”
While creative agencies still comprise a large chunk of Udy’s client base, he’s seen a rise in requests for internal and external digital content for businesses.
“Our main clients are really advertising and creative agencies that need audio for radio commercials, TVCs, but then increasingly over the last few years, digital content's really grown. So explainer videos, audio for digital content, whether it be internal training or comms or external.”
Udy demonstrated AI-powered Dashi at Unmade’s HumAIn conference in July - which, “within nine minutes, had a script created, sent to head office in Launceston, back to a real human voice in Redfern in Sydney in a studio, recorded it, was back in Launceston, and produced by a person”.
He argues that the human touch in audio still has a significant purpose even as AI sweeps in.
“I don't think you can beat real humanness. For me, I've landed when tech and humans kind of work together, combined, that's when we get magic. So I'm not shying away from using AI tools and different technologies. But I think there's something really important about people.”
During the conversation, he also offers his thoughts on what people aspiring to be voiceover artists should focus on.“ Often I'll say to up and coming voices, it's that last 5% that's the hardest to get right and separates the good voices from the great voices. It's thinking about the brief and how a script, a voiceover can bring that script to life based on the deadline of the job and other kind of creative requirements in the brief.”
Unmade Index sinks some more
Seja Al Zaidi writes:
The majority of stocks on the Unmade Index fell yesterday, seeing our tracker of ASX-listed media and market companies fall 2.12% to an even lower 584.1 points.
Seven West Media experienced the steepest drop - it fell 7.02%. ARN Media came in second, falling 4.14%, and Nine dropped 2.84%.
Craig Hutchison-owned Sports Entertainment Group dropped 10%.
Enero Group fell 3.13%, Ooh Media 1.87% and 0.81%.
Printing and marketing outfit IVE Group was the only stock to rise - it increased 4.27% in share price.
Time to leave you to your Thursday. We’ll be back with an end of week update tomorrow, focusing on tonight’s Foxtel Upfronts.
Audio production was courtesy of Abe’s Audio, the people to talk to about voiceovers, sound design and podcast production.
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Have a great day.
Publisher - Unmade