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Spotify to Acquire AI Voice Startup Sonantic – The Hollywood Reporter

Spotify said on Monday it will acquire Sonantic, a tech company that specializes in creating hyperrealistic artificial voices.

In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Spotify said Sonantic’s technology could allow the audio company to better communicate with users when they aren’t looking at their screens and help reduce other barriers to entry for new listeners.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Based in London, Sonantic was founded in 2018 by Zeena Qureshi and John Flynn. The company caters toward entertainment industry professionals and, in 2020, raised €2.3 million (about $2.4 million) in seed funding. Sonantic has also worked with Val Kilmer, who was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent a tracheotomy in 2014, to develop an AI voice model based on past audio recordings of Kilmer’s voice.

“I’m grateful to the entire team at Sonantic who masterfully restored my voice in a way I’ve never imagined possible,” Kilmer said in a statement last year. “As human beings, the ability to communicate is the core of our existence and the effects from throat cancer have made it difficult for others to understand me. The chance to tell my story, in a voice that feels authentic and familiar, is an incredibly special gift.”

Spotify’s upcoming acquisition of Sonantic could provide a new line of revenue for the audio giant if it maintains and grows the startup’s existing partnerships with entertainment and gaming studios. The Stockholm-based audio company is also preparing to close on another acquisition of the audiobook platform Findaway as the company plans to place audiobooks as its third area of focus next to music and podcasts.


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