Andrew Mason’s Descript snags $15M, acquires Lyrebird to let users type text to create audio in their own voices

TechCrunch | 9/18/2019 | Staff
yana.booyana.boo (Posted by) Level 4
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The boom in popularity for podcasting has given a new voice to the world of spoken word content that had been largely left for dead with the decline of broadcast radio. Now riding the wave of that growth, a startup called Descript that’s building tools to make the art of creating podcasts — or any other content that involves working with audio — a little easier with audio transcription and editing tools, has a trio of news announcements: funding, an acquisition, and the launch of a new tool that brings some of the magic of natural language processing and AI to the medium by letting people create audio of their own voices based on text that they type.

Descript, the latest startup from Groupon founder Andrew Mason, created as a spinoff of his audio-guide business Detour (which got acquired by Bose last year), is today announcing $15 million in funding, a Series A for expanding the business (including hiring more people) that’s coming from Andreessen Horowitz (it also funded the startup’s seed round in 2017) and Redpoint.

Overdub - Addition - Product - Users - Transcriptions

Overdub is the latest addition to a product that lets users create instant transcriptions of audio text, which is then has already established a following among podcasters and others that use transcription software as part of their audio production suites. The product is priced in a freemium format: no charge for up to four hours of voice content, and $10 per month after that.

In the age of fake news aided and abetted by technology, you’d be forgiven for wondering if Overdub might not be a highway to deep fake city, where you could use the technology to create any manner of “statements” by famous voices.

Idea - Advances - NLP - AI - Something

But if you subscribe to the idea that tech advances in NLP and AI overall are something of a Pandora’s Box,...
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