The One Word That Personifies the Past Decade in Voiceover

by | Dec 18, 2019 | Ruminations | 1 comment


That’s not the word I was thinking of, but it’s close.

The word I’m thinking of CAUSED disruption…and as it turns out, “disruption” is one of the 25 words that describe the decade in Tech, as described in C|Net along with “swipe right”, emoji, and blockchain.

Because I’m OCD, I find it important to point out that this is not the end of the decade…Dec 2020 is.  But that fine point is usually lost on people when they see new numerals in the year.

The word (acronym) I’m thinking of is P2P (pay-to-play). 

The new concept – born out of the ubiquity of the internet – describes a virtual marketplace where clients meet talent, and a middle-man facilitates.

I lost count of the P2P’s that have come and gone in the last 10 years.  A couple have showed real staying power, and one in particular turned coat and went from a hopeful player to a predatory poster child.

Every conceivable design has been offered up by the facilitators — the middle man — in these schemes.  And who can blame them for seeing the opportunity?  Online is where the WORLD is moving.  Advertising, TV, Movies, Creatives, Publishing, Photography, Graphics…it’s all being digitized.  It’s the new worldwide digital flea market, and compensation rates for all the above professions have fallen because of it.

Voice actors have gone from a rather unique/boutique talent specialty sequestered in LA and NYC, to a wide field of hobbyists with a USB mic and a laptop.

P2P’s have disrupted virtually all aspects of the voiceover business;  equipment, agencies, recording/production studios, marketing, editing, bookkeeping, coaching, demos, scripts, and more.  

Pay-to-Plays don’t control the business (yet), but they hold all the cards for future development.  Although SAG-AFTRA continues to ignore the effect of P2P’s for voice actors, they’re affected by it nonetheless.

Sites like Fivrr, Upwork, and Thumbtack go even further…offering to put a talent with a seeker in a virtual marketplace for ALL of the above creative specialities.  The total effect on the freelance community is this: bidding wars, quantity vs. quality, and a loss of self-worth.  Global marketplace = democratization of rates.

It’s not all bad.  The P2P marketplace in a web-based economy opens opportunity and plenty.  It’s now a wild-west of expectations in quality and compensation that even the P2P’s struggle to control.  It’s process in motion. 

We’re in the midst of change, and it feels uncertain.  P2P’s may end up being a means to an end that is as-yet undefined.

How to adapt?

Be agile.


Stay in the know.

Stand up for yourself and your creative capital.

You’ve worked for it.










CourVO Newsletter

1 Comment

  1. Gene Tognacci

    Well put.

    Very grateful to have gotten into VO in 1992. Found my niche, some great clients and am blessed with a full in box every day, but I don’t like playing in the new P2P sandbox: 300 auditions this year….no bookings.

    In 2020, I’m sticking to what works for me. Building personal relationships, competing where I can win and working with my engineer/producer to deliver a great product quickly. You probably will not hear me on a national spot or a movie trailer, but my mortgage will be covered, my weight and blood pressure will be down and I’ll be hitting the hiking trail every afternoon at 2.

    Agility and adjustment!

    It’s going to be a great year!

    Happy Holidays to all.


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