TL; DR: Voices, one of the world’s top marketplaces for creative services, connects organizations with the creative talent they need to liven up and complete projects. In addition to its cornerstone voice-over service, Voices has expanded to offer translation, audio production, music composition, and singing services. The global talent platform offers customers in more than 160 countries expertise in over 100 languages, accents, and dialects . Since 2005, the biggest and most beloved brands have entrusted Voices to help them find professionals to bring their projects to life.
When David Ciccarelli found himself fresh out of audio engineering school, one of his first moves was to open a small recording studio in London, Ontario. A mention of the studio in the local newspaper caught the eye of a classically trained singer named Stephanie who became David’s first client.
“Soon, because of that same newspaper article, other small businesses in town began to contact us requesting a female voice actor for commercials and phone system recordings,” he told us. “I only knew one girl in the city — and that was Stephanie.”
Stephanie and David quickly joined forces. Today, they are partners in both marriage and business ownership and have grown their humble recording studio into Voices, a freelance marketplace for voice actors, translators, audio producers, music composers, singers, and the clients who require those services to complete their creative projects.
The company, headquartered in London, Ontario, currently serves more than 500,000 registered companies and individuals. The company’s innovative technology makes it easy to hire creative talent specializing in more than 100 languages, accents, and dialects.
“We quickly attracted freelance voice talent from around the world; people who speak different languages, are located in different areas, and have various areas of expertise,” David said. “Recording an audiobook requires a different skill set than providing a voice-over for a monster truck rally commercial. And now, freelancers specializing in translation, audio production, and music services have joined the Voices community to further expand and enhance creative opportunities.”
Customers in more than 160 countries now use this creative talent on a wide variety of projects — from advertising, entertainment, and gaming to audiobooks, training videos, and industrial applications. Ultimately, Voices aims to make it fast and easy for users to leverage the power of the human voice in their projects.
Founded in 2003 on a Mission to Showcase Voice Talent
As one of the first elements of a website a visitor sees, a domain name serves as your brand’s introduction to the online world, creating a solid first impression. The best domain names tend to be short, sweet, and memorable — something visitors can readily recall and type into browsers. Sites based on keywords (think Hotels.com and Realtor.com) are particularly valuable because they impact SEO.
It follows that scoring an ultra-premium domain name like Voices.com wasn’t easy.
“We started with Interactivevoices.com, which was a mouthful, so some simplification was in order,” David said. “We thought, ‘What if we could just drop the interactive part and just use voices?’ So we did a quick search for Voices.com, and a site popped up with the tagline Silencing the Critical Voices in Your Head.”
The site was for a medical journal that seemingly hadn’t been updated for years. The domain name owner was willing to sell — for the hefty price of $50,000.
“I thought, ‘OK, seems reasonable, but I totally don’t have $50,000,'” David said. “So we go to every bank in town, but trying to get their heads around the nonphysical asset that is a domain name was a hurdle. So I offered $30,000 paid in increments of $5,000 over the next six quarters.”
The seller agreed, which David said was a pivotal moment. “It repositioned us as an authority in the space,” he said. “We got great visibility.”
Besides its valuable domain name, Voices stands out from the pack by focusing entirely on creative services. Unlike the general freelance platforms Upwork and Fiverr, Voices was purpose-built for the voice acting space and has selectively expanded its service offerings to maintain its position as a targeted creative services space.
Weave the Power of Voice into Creative Projects
Voices now offers a good selection of solutions — from voice-overs for animation and audiobooks to internet videos. But David said the team’s underlying focus is on speed and ease of use connecting all of the company’s services, helping to attract and retain users on both sides of the marketplace.
“We measure time to first response on jobs that customers post, and it boils down to just minutes,” he said. “There’s an entire community of people at home, online, and ready to audition for the next job available.”
And, because the platform is built for the niche creative market, users enjoy an intuitive experience that flows effortlessly from job to job.
“They can save jobs as templates; they can clone previous jobs — we’ve just tried to take these time-saving steps because we know you want that deliverable,” David said.
Whether customers are working on videos, ad campaigns, or site-building projects, Voices offers a frictionless path through the creative talent hiring process.
The platform also benefits the creative talent by promoting fair pay. Voices generates revenue through a 20% platform fee on each transaction.
“And because of that, the business truly is based on shared success,” he said. “Our talent get to enhance their earning capabilities, and we also maximize our earnings,” David shared.
David told us Voices frequently serves as a solution for customers in their moment of need — and he’s proud of that.
“Voice often comes in at a crucial moment of the production,” he said. “You’ve written the script, now you need it translated, or you need music, or audio production, or voice over for the video — that’s often when people are like, ‘I’ve got this campaign, it’s supposed to launch next week, and Voices was so fast last time. Let’s use them again.’”
The Benefits of a Values-Based Approach
Voices recently had the opportunity to help many customers in a significant time of need: the pandemic.
“Internet Video Voices was our number one growth category last year — it grew just shy of 200% year over year,” David said. “At the onset of the pandemic, businesses still had to reach the same audiences, hence the surge in social media and YouTube activity.”
He said he was honored to help companies take a shift toward digitalization. That sentiment is at the foundation of the Voices philosophy, which places a strong emphasis on values.
“The intention has always been the same,” he said. “We believe that the human voice is special, that it can inform and entertain and educate the world. We can, in some ways, make the world a more positive and accessible place through the power of human voice.”
To further its goal of spreading positive messages, the Voices team follows an E for Everyone policy prohibiting explicit content and extreme violence.
“We’re aiming to serve businesses that are needing to tell their brand story and using voice as an aspect of that creative production,” David said. “Frankly, we have to take the moral position that we’re willing to turn down business. Our actors are breathing words into life, and we want to make sure they aren’t being put into an uncomfortable situation.”
Coming Up: Complementary Services
While Voices will continue to place freelance voice acting talent at the heart of its platform, the company has also expanded to adjacent creative services.
“As of July 19th, we have officially expanded into additional categories, starting with music, audio, editing, and translation,” David said.
After those categories will come copywriting.
“I think we have an opportunity to better service our existing customers and hopefully bring some new ones into the fold, by offering them a complete solution,” David said. “Going from a voice marketplace to a creative services marketplace has been the right next step.”