by Josh Janssen, Writer, Photographer, Social Guy.
From the voice on your GPS quietly insisting you U-turn at the next available opportunity, to the sometimes quick-witted, sometimes baffling Siri, there's an increasing chorus of voices inhabiting our world. After a swathe of articles came out recently unmasking the people behind Siri's voiceovers, I started thinking about the voice of our music marketplace, AudioJungle. Who is this mysterious woman who appears to only know one word, and insists on whispering it repeatedly on every music clip on the site?
If you've ever used AudioJungle, you know the clip I speak of. The watermark plays every few seconds when previewing any of the thousands of tracks on AudioJungle. In fact, with over 5 million preview plays on AudioJungle, this 2 second clip has been heard some 50 million times and counting.
Introducing Cyan Ta’eed. You may recognise Cyan, and not from her extensive voiceover work. Cyan is the co-founder of Envato, and it just so happens that she is also the voice behind AudioJungle!
When you’re bootstrapping a company, you don’t always have the luxury of splashing out for professionals when some jobs just need to get done. That’s why, in 2008, armed with a copy of GarageBand and the internal microphone on her classic white iMac, Cyan recorded the AudioJungle watermark. It was anything but glamorous. The acoustics weren’t ideal, with the company being located in the garage underneath Cyan’s parents house.
This made choosing when to record the voiceover an important consideration. The office was also home to Cyan’s parents old van. If the sound of the engine didn’t ruin the production, the fumes would.
The audio clip that was recorded five years ago is still used as the watermark on AudioJungle today. It's an important part of the way the site works. It means that buyers can experience high quality previews of items, while authors have the peace of mind that their unique content is safe.
Although Cyan’s voice recording was a once off task — no, she doesn’t sit at her desk doing them live all day — implementing the watermark is still a manual process. If done poorly, a watermark can be detracting from the listening experience. A loud abrasive voiceover is like a solid black watermark on a photograph. If you’re distracting the listener, you’re doing it wrong!
There has been much debate around the issue of whether the watermarking process should be automated. We like to let the author decide on how the watermark is placed over their productions. Although this takes a little extra time for authors, it provides a better experience for the buyer, as well as showcasing the work in the best light. ‘Soundroll’ — one of our most popular AudioJungle authors — mentioned this in our forums:
“I prefer to play the watermarks manually, that way I can control the volume of the watermark so that it’s not too overpowering.”
Small decisions within the early stages of a bootstrap can have lasting effects. While speaking to Cyan about the post, it got me thinking; how would it sound if they decided to get Collis – Cyan’s husband and Envato co-founder – to record those initial, long lasting tracks.
Introducing: Collis Ta’eed’s AudioJungle voiceover audition.
It’s fair to say, the right decision was made, and AudioJungle has come a long way from its humble beginnings in a garage in Sydney, Australia. Since launching in 2008, AudioJungle has licensed close to a million music and audio tracks. The music has been heard on television commercials to film productions, for companies including Toyota and Adidas.
We like to think the voice had something to do with it.