What you need to know
- Spotify has bought AI voice company Sonantic.
- The UK-based company was responsible for helping give Val Kilmer a voice in the new Top Gun: Maverick movie.
- Neither company has said how much money changed hands.
Spotify is buying Sonantic, the company that uses AI to create artificial voices. You might not have heard of it before, but you might have actually heard its work — the company was used to help put Val Kilmer in the new blockbuster movie Top Gun: Maverick.
No details about the buyout have been shared but the company confirmed the buyout today, saying that it has "identified several potential opportunities for text-to-speech capabilities" across its platform.
If the Sonantic name doesn't ring any bells, you aren't alone. But as TechCrunch reports, this is the same company that helped make it possible for Val Kilmer to reprise his role as Iceman in the new Top Gun: Maverick movie. Kilmer has suffered from throat cancer since the first movie was released and is unable to speak. Sonantic was used to help give Kilmer a voice, with his condition written into the story.
It isn't immediately clear what Spotify has in store for Sonantic, but a spokesperson told TechCrunch that the outfit will be part of the "Consumer and Platform BU in the Personalization Mission" that reports to Ziad Sultan — VP of personalization at Spotify.
Spotify might be best-known for its Apple Music-like streaming service as well as its entrance into the world of podcasts, but it's clear that the company has ideas beyond what it currently offers. Could Spotify be looking at a way to turn written content into something we could listen to via its service? Only time will tell, as always.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.