Gig Economy – P2P Sites Driving Change for Multimedia Localization

The gig economy comes to the global multimedia industry

It isn’t just for Uber drivers and AirBnB landlords. The gig economy is something that is reaching in to all other industries, and localization is no exception. In 2017 GLOBAL VOICE-OVER INDUSTRY TRENDS AND INFLUENCERS, we analyze how the rise of P2P (Pay to Play) sites for multilingual voice-overs are disrupting the established supply chain. These sites put buyers of voice-over services in contact directly with the voice talent, effectively cutting out the traditional studios that used to perform this work.

At first glance, one may think that this is a natural evolution and that it is only a matter of time before voice-over studios have to completely revise their business model or face being completely erased from the supply chain. However, in reality, this isn’t what we are seeing at all. Voice-over studios are growing now more than ever.

When buyers partner with freelance voce talent working from in-home studios, there are a number of challenges they face. While the decreased price and shortened supply chain may appear attractive at first, buyers quickly realize that they miss the level of quality and the services provided by studios.


The very first thing that a buyer will realize is just how much time it takes to weed through hundreds of different voice talent to pick the right one. When working with a traditional recording studio, there is a casting director who recruits and auditions talent to find the perfect fit for each project. Without these services, it means that the buyer is spending hours, – sometimes days – sorting through hundreds of candidates, some of whom are good and some of whom are, frankly, garbage.

Voice Direction

The voice director coaches the talent and makes sure that the scripts are recorded to standards. Without this third party working with the voice talent, expensive re-records become more necessary.

Audio production

It is not uncommon to receive a voice-over file from a freelancer who seems perfect, but then later you realize that certain changes are necessary. This can be anything. It could be as simple as splitting the files into segments, or as complicated as tweaking the settings to remove background noise that previously wasn’t noticed. (Side note: background noise would not even be an issue if working with a professional studio).

When working directly with a freelancer, such fixes may or may not be in scope, depending on your relationship with that talent. Even if the freelancer is willing to implement the changes, though, they may not possess the skills or tools needed to do so. This once again means that you will need to take care of these things in-house.

Other services

Many times, voice-over is only one aspect of a recording project, especially when there are multiple languages being localized. Working directly with a voice talent means that you are only getting voice. In contrast, working with an experienced studio means that you can also work with them to deliver a number of other services that may be needed, such as subtitling, on-screen text localization, dubbing/voice integrations… you name it.

What’s next?

P2P sites are having a profound effect on the voice-over industry, though we are a long way from seeing the decline of professional full-service studio work. The industry is growing. P2P sites facilitate this growth by allowing new buyers to enter the market who otherwise couldn’t afford voice-over services. P2P sites also allow existing buyers to do more with less in certain situations.

Those buyers who are accustomed to working with studios will need to continue to do so, as there is still a need for talent searching and auditioning, character development work, voice direction, audio and visual engineering and production, and overall high quality that can only be provided by a whole team of experienced professionals.

Find out more

The rise of the second screen is discussed further in Nimdzi’s Insight Report, 2017 GLOBAL VOICE-OVER INDUSTRY TRENDS AND INFLUENCERS. If you are interested in finding out more we encourage you click the link and continue reading.

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