Voices.com: Unethical and Greedy?

Mad as hellOn October 15, 2014, Susan Truppe, the Canadian Member of Parliament for London North Centre, visited the offices of Voices.com for a second time. She did not come empty-handed.

That day she announced that “Voices” would be receiving $900,000 from the government “to go global by expanding its project management division and translating its products into additional languages.” (source)

She had some nice things to say to the owners of Voices:

“Taking a business idea and turning it into something that does well in commercial markets is something we need to see happen more and more in Canada. The founders of Voices.com have done this extremely well and I congratulate you, David and Stephanie Ciccarelli. (…) You have grown your business into a marketplace valued by radio and television stations, advertising agencies and Fortune 500 companies.”

Notice which category was missing?

Voice actors!

EXPANSION

$900,000 may seem a lot of money, but it’s not nearly enough if you have big plans.

In April 2015 it became clear that Voices had secured $2 million from BDC Capital, and according to Voices CEO David Ciccarelli, his company has raised $5 million so far, all of it debt financing. Talking to the Financial Post, Ciccarelli added that he estimates his company to make $15 million in gross revenue over the next 12 months, and that Voices will exceed $100 million in annual revenue within three years.

In June, Voices announced that it would open up shop in New York City. According to the website TechVibes, 85% of Voices.com’s customers are located in the US, and a majority of the company’s 125,000 voice talent are located there.

Did you know that voices.com had a database of 125.000 members?

Again according to TechVibes, the Canadian company is experiencing 400% year-over-year growth, and it expects its workforce to reach up to 200 employees by the end of 2016.

SUCCESS STORY

From a business perspective, Voices is a success story Canada can be proud of. By all accounts, the two owners are intelligent, hard-working people, who want their company to be the leading voice casting service on the planet.

There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, but what an increasing number of members are concerned about, is how those ambitions are being realized. They know that without voice talent, the company would have nothing to offer. One might as well remove the word “voices” from Voices.com.

However, the very people who are at the center of the company’s growth, feel they’re being treated like second and third-rate citizens. The massive response to last week’s blog post, attests to that. The story has been viewed more than ten thousand eight hundred times, and if you haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing, and read Voices.com Is Slapping Regular Members In The Face.

In the days after this article was published, we learned a lot more about the business practices of Voices.com, thanks to many colleagues who decided they’ve had enough. Here are some themes that emerged from hundreds of comments:

1. Voices.com is driving VO-rates down.

While the price of membership goes up and up, voice-over rates are going down and down. That should come as no surprise. Voices tells clients on their “About-page” that by using their services they can expect a “50% savings on voice talent and audio production and administrative costs.”

Big corporations and institutions that used to pay talent a decent rate, can now book a voice at a bargain. Good for them. Bad for us. Once clients are used to lower prices, why would they ever want to pay a penny more?

2. Voices.com may take more money than you make.

Let’s assume a client pays Voices $650 for their services. That doesn’t mean the talent will see or get $650 for a voice-over narration. Colleagues tell me that Voices will often show the job as paying much less, from which a 10% escrow fee will be deducted as part of their SurePay™ system that every member is forced to use.

This is not some random example. This actually happened to voice-over Andrew Randall. The client was already a contact of his, and told him how much they had paid Voices to get the job done. Andrew writes:

“The rate Voices.com originally posted on this job was $440. Deducting their 10% escrow fee, that would have left me $396. That means Voices.com was intending to keep $254 of the client’s voice-over talent budget of $650, or a staggering 39%.”

This particular job was handled by Voices’ Professional Services team. This division will cast the job on the client’s behalf, and more and more projects are handled this way. It seems fair that a client pays a bit extra for this service, but close to 40%? That’s a huge cut of which the voice talent will never see a dime.

A ticked off Andrew responds:

“Union agents are only legally allowed to take 10% of a talent’s fee, and even non-union agents never take more than 20%, and usually 10 to 15%. I wonder how much money I have lost over the years from previous jobs for which I was unaware that Voices.com was taking such a huge cut of my fee. I may seek legal advice to see if I have a case to request those exorbitant fees back.”

But there’s more.

One disgruntled Platinum member told me she booked a job through Voices for $400, not knowing who the client was because Voices didn’t list it. And since Voices explicitly forbids talent to contact clients directly, she couldn’t ask.

Once she got the script, she found out that it was for a MAJOR global brand. The video she ended up narrating has over 3 million hits and counting. She said she has a feeling that Voices charged the client a much higher fee, and pocketed the difference.

A fellow-voice-over agreed, and said:

“They do take $ and hide what the client is actually paying. Another talent mentioned earlier today that they had a friend who booked a job at $1500 (outside of the pay-to-plays) and Voices posted that same job as paying $250. I’ve heard several different accounts of this happening from different sources now.”

This practice doesn’t only insult talent. It also angers those who use Voices to hire talent. A producer just commented:

“I had a recent job where my offer was $250/voice, and the talent told me that they were told by Voices that the job was only $120. This pisses me off because it makes me look like a cheap bastard and some good talent probably passed on auditioning since they saw the job as too low budget for them but in reality, it wasn’t.”

3. Voices controls how much you can “play,” based on what you pay.

As a regular Premium member, you will never see all the jobs that are in the Voices.com system. That’s how it is set up.

As I reported last week, a select group of 100 Platinum and Platinum Unlimited members who pay $2500 or $5000 respectively, are invited to more public job postings, and will get more private invitations than any of the other 124,900 members. Not because they’re more talented or more experienced, but because they paid Voices to give them preferential treatment. They’ll also receive VIP customer service.

One voice talent responded:

“What about everyone else who cannot afford $2500 for a membership, let alone $5000? They are basically making those talents audition into the void and completely waste their time. It’s not about TALENT anymore with this system- it favors those who will put in the money. As someone who grew up very poor, this makes me incredibly sad- and truly outraged.”

Someone else added:

“If I could afford the $2500, I wouldn’t need Voices.com”

Of course Voices.com cannot guarantee any member at any level that they’ll ever get selected for any posted project. They may control the flow of auditions, but they can’t tell the client whom to hire. 

Since my story broke, I have heard from a number of Platinum members, all of whom have been in the business for many, many years. One of them was voice talent and coach Deb Munro. She commented:

“I received more private auditions and made my initial investment back, but not much more than that either. I am floored that they are offering another tier [The Platinum Unlimited membership, PS]. This will be the demise of the site in my opinion, once more exposed.”

Here’s another point most commentators seem to agree on:

4. Auditioning on Voices.com is pretty much a waste of time and money.

Just listen to what three experienced voice-overs had to say:

“I auditioned like crazy, got one gig. 95% of my auditions were never even listened to. I finally would only audition if it was a 90% or better match, and less than 25 people had already auditioned, still nothing. I don’t know what the secret code is, but I couldn’t crack it, and I get plenty of other work.”

“The count of my auditions at Voices.com is in the high hundreds, and I’ve landed a total of two jobs – both from the same employer. I’ve received quite a few “likes” on my work, but a large number of my auditions go unheard and many more projects get closed without any further action. Spend more for better treatment and more visibility? Can Voices.com guarantee I’ll earn my investment back? On both counts, I think not.”

“Wow! I swore off P2P years ago. I thought it was not for me. This new Platinum Unlimited membership level brings it to a whole new level of wasted effort! I know there are some talents who have landed spectacular clients and/ or ongoing gigs. But that seems to be a rarity.”

Can it get any worse? Well, here’s another conclusion many colleagues seem to share:

5. The business practices of Voices.com are unethical. The company exploits naïve beginners, and doesn’t care about voice talent.

Here’s a small selection of comments on that topic:

“Monetize all the things” seems to be the new business model. Even inventing things to monetize. Yeah, one year was enough.”

“I would come back with open arms if they stopped the bidding wars, stopped undercutting their talent, and started representing their talent honorably. They have essentially taken over the job of a talent agent, and are NOT treating their talent according to the principles true talent agencies do. In the process, they are putting real talent agencies at risk – the real workers who fight for the talent. It has to stop.”

“I hate the way they run the company now. They used to pretend to care about members. Now they don’t even pretend to care. They just show utter contempt. David and Stephanie can run their company how they like. I will no longer support it or recommend it to other actors.”

“The arrogance and abusiveness of this company is astounding.”

Voice talent Todd Schick does’t mince words on his website:

“Some people are devoid of ethics and morals; they simply can’t see the benefit – monetarily or otherwise – to treat others in a fair, ethical manner.
Indeed, I’ve heard personally from former employees at Voices.com who have been threatened….now in fear of coming forward. Those that work there are rumoured to have been told to toe the line or be fired. Further still, talent who make noise about this issue are blacklisted (…).”

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?

You have read the critique. The question is: will it make a difference? Many colleagues are cynical:

“Paul rightly calls them on their tactics, but Voices.com knows VO-land is disorganized and that there will always be newbies willing to under-bid on a job to get a foothold in this job field. For every one subscriber who quits the P2P in disgust, three more step up with dollars in hand.”

“They’re making money hand over fist. That’s all they care about. They’ll ignore this until it dies down, and then continue to think of new ways to fill their coffers.”

I have blogged about Voices.com before, and whenever I do, it always seems to hit a raw nerve. People share these stories on social media, and comment like crazy. But this time, one thing was definitely different, and I’ll tell you what it is.

Normally, I would always get a few commentators who would come to Voices.com’s defense. They’d tell me how much they love the site, how much money they had made, and that business was booming thanks to this Canadian company. Some said I should stop being so mean to Stephanie and David.

This time around…. nothing.

What I heard instead was this:

“I’m done.”

“I called customer service, and cancelled my membership. I should have done it a long time ago.”

Time after time after time.

And you know what else? In the midst of all this bad publicity, the company isn’t even attempting to do any form of damage control. They’re not denying anything that has been said or written.

At their headquarters in London, Ontario, it has been quiet.

Disturbingly quiet.

Voices.com seems to have lost its voice.

Oh well…

Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice

PS Be sweet. Please retweet!

About the author

Paul Strikwerda

is a Dutch-English voice-over pro, coach, and writer. His blog is one of the most widely read and influential blogs in the industry. Paul is also the author of "Making Money In Your PJs, Freelancing for voice-overs and other solopreneurs." goo.gl/ihVpMc

by Paul Strikwerda in Journalism & Media, Money Matters, Pay-to-Play

132 Responses to Voices.com: Unethical and Greedy?

  1. Drew

    Just as you are “cooling” your posts on Voices.com…. I’m beginning mine!

    On Monday, 10/18/2016, Voices.com made what I consider to be a big, ugly, greedy mistake.

    I’ll let my letter to their CEO explain:

    David,

    I’m a four year premium member and until yesterday, a major fan of Voices.com. I’ve watched you and your wife grow this company and it’s wonderful concept. You guys seemed to have the best ethics, and it was a wonderful service… a win-win for everyone involved.

    I was the guy who always defended your company on the many social media VO sites from the people who called you greedy.

    In fact, I had been seriously considering a platinum membership with Sheldon Matthews. That was all until your company’s decision to suddenly – and without warning – DOUBLE your Paypal fees.

    A 100% increase… NOT even on NEW sign-ups mind you, but on established members.

    I get it. It’s an attempt to steer talent like me to audition for more V-assisted jobs, because you guys pocket a MUCH larger portion of the client’s budget that way.

    I don’t believe this action can be justified or defended, and to add insult to injury, your customer service rep Trevor Mandic made zero attempt to do so.

    I’m so disappointed. I’m finally finished with V.com when my membership expires in June. I’m sure I’ll probably suffer retaliation (rejection) on my auditions between now and then, but that’s something I can never prove.

    Not that it matters to you. I just wanted you to know.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Drew, thank you for sharing your letter to the CEO of VDC. I guess you’re referring to the Escrow fee going from 10 to 20 percent?

    [Reply]

  2. Pingback: Stop Bashing Voices.com! | Nethervoice

  3. Keith Michaels

    Wow. Hang onto that contract (hopefully you made a copy) because that is crucial if there is a class action lawsuit, which I believe someone is trying to start up.

    [Reply]

  4. Fernando Silotto

    Hi Guys!
    I’m a professional voice over artist from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
    I paid voices.com for one month last year, just to try it…
    Well, after few days I got my first job at voices for a web commercial for Converse shoes, in brazilian portuguese.
    After recording with the client, I discovered that a us$375 project, was in fact a US$1500,00!
    Because the client sent me the contract to sign with the real value!
    is this legal?? After reading this post, I think they do this with every single job posted on the site, and of course, charging high subscription and escrow fees!
    I really would like to do something about it, they cannot keep doing this anymore!

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    I haven’t heard about the class action law suit Keith is referring to, but it wouldn’t surprise me if someone would start one. Thanks to people like you, the voice-over community is becoming more and more aware that these practices are going on at “Voices.” Some say that this Canadian company has a right to do business as they seem fit. They don’t force anyone to become a member. Since it is a for-profit business, making $1125 off your job is not a bad deal. It also tells us that some clients will gladly pay $1500 for a voice-over. It’s our job as freelancers to steer these clients away from the voice casting sites, and to lead them to our own websites instead. That requires time and hard work, but that’s what a solopreneur is supposed to do anyway.

    [Reply]

  5. Keith Michaels

    It’s no secret what Voices.com will do to people who push negative views, as Paul found out. And “man” has a right to be concerned, especially if he relies on Voices for much of his income. There are many voice actors who do. I feel like we are starting to bully some of these folks into laying everything on the line in order to justify an industry wide rate sheet and putting Voices out of business. Getting someone’s experience with Voices in print is good, whether it is done anonymously or not.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    I get your concern, Keith, and that’s why I try to walk a fine line between providing opinion and information, and telling other people what to do. To those who still depend on one or two voice casting sites for their income I want to say: “Never get your water from one or two wells. One day, those wells may dry up, or get poisoned. Then what are you going to do?”

    Any professional freelancer knows that it is smart business to have MANY pipelines that generate work. If you rely too much on one or two job sources, you’re no longer an independent contractor. You’re dependent on the whims and ways of those sources which weakens your bargaining position.

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  6. Man with a Mouth

    I have been with voices.com for over 6 years. I am so frustrated now by the way they do business. All of these “Account Associates” who post job on behalf of clients looking for a voice talent are just plain crooked.

    To see a job posting that asks a talent to read a 2500 word script for $100 is just ridiculous.

    Further… I challenge ANY voice talent on voices.com to go back and look at COMPLETED jobs on their “Answered” tab.

    How many jobs our actually labeled “completed?” Not many. I see ‘Closed’ job going back over 2 years, but NOT completed. Which mean, no one actually finished the job on voice.com and got paid.

    Now, I make good money on Voices.com – more than my ‘subscription’ – but honestly, they could do much better for the voice talent.

    Another infuriating thing is that after you complete a job from a ‘voices.com associate” – They take FOREVER to release the payment to the talent. It’s like they are trying to hold on to the money as long as possible to get interest off of it. I can’t get money out of them after a job until I complain about it. I had a job that was finished, closed and approved, but took 8 weeks to pay.

    voices.com – sucking more and more every day.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Thanks for chiming in, “Man with a Mouth.” I can understand why you prefer to remain anonymous, but on the other hand, what is there to fear? Are you afraid that Voices dot com will find out, and remove your profile from their site?

    It is time for the critics to put their money where their mouth is. If you’re still on “Voices,” you are supporting a system that is not set up to benefit you or your colleagues. It is a system that is hurting our industry. Complaining about it does not help. As long as people sign up to be members, and as long as people renew their membership, they are enabling this company to continue doing what they are doing.

    [Reply]

    Man with a Mouth Reply:

    I am afraid of retaliation?

    You’re damn right. When I complained about how ridiculous the voice match system was and how far off base it threw most talent… I was blacklisted. No audition, no responses…

    Yes – you criticize about something they don’t like and you are dead in the water on the site, regardless of your membership.

    Do I want to bail? Sure… but, sometimes that 1 client turns into a good direct bill contact.

    Is it contradictory to the whole point? Yes.

    So.. my anonymity accomplishes 2 things. I still get to try to make some money without being black balled, and I can tell everyone out there how shitty the system they have implemented is.

    I would imagine that if criminals.com – whoops, I mean voices.com found out who I was… they would take my subscription money… and not send auditions.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Based on responses from other (ex)-members, you’re right. It’s seems to be a totalitarian regime. “Voices” loves those who sing their praises, and retaliates against critics. And what does the CEO do? Read this story to find out: http://www.nethervoice.com/2015/11/04/the-ciccarelli-circus/

  7. Claire Lindsay

    Oh, sorry, the 25% was mentioned by someone else in the string (I thought I was replying or posting to them).

    Apparently talent only sees 25% of the jobs posted on Voices. I of course understand you’re not encouraging people to quit that service, it’s always a personal decision.

    I was just wondering about where I could get info or back-up to the 25% statistic because I’ve seen it somewhere before.

    I did get a follow-up email from Voices btw and this is their response. I’m not sure how I feel about it:

    “Hi Claire,

    Thank you for your email.

    Jobs come to us at varying different points in the process. It is possible that this particular job is not coming directly from the client but from a third party who is trying to outsource or bid for the project. The job posted at Voices123 could be earlier on in the process which is why the budget is higher.

    That being said the budget for the Voices.com project is well within the suggested budget ranges for our website.

    However, you are free to audition and quote whatever you feel is right for the project.”

    Anyway, thanks for having this discussion, I guess we’ll see how it continues to shake out.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    The 25% is hard to independently verify. “Voices” is not known for its transparency, and sometimes we learn things about the company when (former) employees provide feedback, such as on this website:

    https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Voices-com-Reviews-E852790.htm

    [Reply]

  8. Claire

    I’m wondering where the statistic of 25% came from? I’ve heard this before but no one lists a source for it.
    I’m not happy about their business practices but I’m not ready to quit yet. Based on my booking rate it’s still very worth my time ans money…for now.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Please clarify, Claire. What statistic of 25%?

    It is not my duty as a blogger to tell people whether or not they should quit using the services of this company. I bring to light some of the things that I have found, and I leave it to my readers what to do with this information. Apparently, enough people are in your shoes. Otherwise, “Voices” would be out of business.

    Personally, I don’t want to have anything to do with a company that seems to handle things in a way that is less than ethical. To me this is not just a matter of “as along as I’m still making money using this service, I will take the bad with the good.” To me this discussion is about the future of our industry.

    Also, Voices-members may be making money, but are they getting shortchanged, and is the entire industry being cheapened as a result? I believe it is, and I am not alone.

    [Reply]

  9. Peter Lerman

    When there is a site making money by selecting which of their “members” gets the job you are not paying them to get you work (as a real ‘agent’ does) you are paying them to give you work (as a crooked ‘boss’ does). The majority of jobs I was auditioning for were ‘managed’ by Voices.com personnel. They chose the talent awarded the job. Now, in these cases a typical member paying voices.com $400/year is competing against ‘Premium’ members paying $2,500/year (more?). Who would you choose if you worked for voices.com? The person who pays your rent, that’s who. It is a closed system where the newbie is severly disadvantaged. You get to audition a lot but is booking 1 job for $100 out of 100 auditions a game worth playing? No. Do the math. It’s a loser.

    [Reply]

  10. Claire Lindsay

    There’s been a lot of bad press about Voices.com. I’ve been with them for over a year now and been booking very regularly and am generally really happy with their service…however…today, a job was listed on Voices123 for $1,000. That exact same job was listed on Voices.com for $500!! WTF? I have written them an email. Hopefully if enough voices (pun intended) speak out, they will be forced to get back into ethical alignment.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Thanks for adding your voice to the “Voices” discussion, Claire. The Canadians are still in business, and that is -in part- thanks to people like yourself. I started off using them for a year, and had some success. That was before “Voices” became what it is today. As long as they can get away with the things you describe in your comment, there is no reason for this business to change their policies. I wish you luck with your email, but based upon prior experience, I am not convinced it will change a thing.

    [Reply]

  11. Keith Michaels

    Yes of course. But if you are a full-time voice talent, with your figures, I’d say it’s time to take a good hard look at why it’s not working and cut the cord so to speak. Save yourself some frustration and money.

    [Reply]

  12. Keith Michaels

    It sounds to me like you don’t believe Jon’s comments about his V123 income. Jon’s figures are most likely true. When I started with Voices.com in 2009, I made $12k. The next year I made $36. The third year around $60k. Then they started their “managed projects” and my income fell significantly. Fortunately I had 20+ years of radio experience too, as well as acting, to be able to build my business to where I didn’t need to depend on them or any other P2P. I know it can be frustrating but perhaps you should focus on finding new roads instead of analyzing why you are not booking on Voices, as we all know the game is rigged there.

    [Reply]

    AudioAuditor Reply:

    I certainly believe Jon’s figures. Why not?

    And, I am analyzing the results of my own efforts. (And speculating, too.) I would be a fool not to. Wouldn’t I? Didn’t you do a similar analysis when making your business decisions? I think you and I both (and Jon, too) have to do this kind of cold hard look at things every so often. I am encouraging everyone to do this because it’s a wise thing to do. I think you would agree, no?

    Wishing you, and Jon, the best.

    [Reply]

  13. AudioAuditor

    I have run the numbers to see how I’m doing on Voices.com. If you want to do this make an Excel spreadsheet of your auditions using the Job Number and track whatever other data you like. I tracked my ‘Voice Match’, ‘listened’ or not, ‘Liked’ or not, and the pay and the closing date.

    Today I went back and added additional data regarding who was casting it and how many submissions there were. This was eye-opening to say the least.

    Out of my first 77 auditions I booked nothing. I was ‘liked’ on 6 of them, also netting nothing. Exactly 18 out of 77 were not listened to at all.

    27 out of 77 were cast by Voices.com. Now, if I were a voices.com employee and some dude was paying $2,500 a year to be a Platinum Member and then there’s me paying $400, I would have to think my company and my job depend upon me keeping the platinum members happy. Therefore, since lots of the submissions are going to be good (maybe 10% of them?) I am definitely going to pick one of the Platinum guy who’s paying my rent and phone bill.

    That’s more than 1/3 of the jobs – voices.com

    Another startling discovery: once I calculated the final tally, the average number of submissions per job is 83. If it takes an average of 10 minutes to record and send your audition, that’s 14 hours of time invested by members for one guy to hopefully get the $100 or $200. Divide it out and it’s minimum wage. You have to do better than the statistical average to net yourself even as much as you’d get paid at Starbucks. And at Starbucks they give you an apron and you can get tips.

    Then, here’s another interesting thing: fewer than half the jobs ever get assigned the “Completed” status. That seems to mean that half of the jobs are just done for ‘fun’. Nobody got cast, at least not through voices.com. So divide your projected net by half, or double your efforts.

    I am going to continue to collect and analyze this data.

    Here’s one thing that boosted my “Listened” percentage. I did it and you can do it too. Until you book a job and get a review you have these gray boxes over your name on your audition. Ugly. Everybody else has a row of gold stars, almost always five. If you were casting and were going to skip some of the submissions it would certainly be ones without gold stars, right? So I had someone go and hire me through voices.com. It cost them $110 and I got paid $100. Then, I got a five star review! Now I have all gold stars above my name and I get listened to nearly all the time. Nobody got ripped off. No fraud, no stealing. Net cost $10.

    Still not making a dime, though.

    [Reply]

  14. Jon Armond

    Since I am that “fellow”, I figured I would clear up a few things from “AudioAuditor”. Yes, I do have 20 years experience in radio. All those years talking for a living was my gateway to Voiceover. As frustrating as this business can be even with those qualifications, I can’t imagine trying to break into VO having never been behind a mic before. I don’t think I would be up for that.

    “On-air guys do LOTS of commercials for free which air on their shows”. That is true, and it was certainly true of my first 10 years in radio. After that, these became “paid celebrity endorsements”, for which I was grossly overpaid.

    “This guy would be much better served by an actual ‘agent’ who would submit him for real, national work for big accounts”. Thanks for the tip. I have 4 agents, actually…one in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Minneapolis. They get me work, too. I never said that Voice123 was my only source for getting VO work. Not remotely. But, through Voice123 I have gotten “real national work for big accounts” like Draft Kings, Pepsi, Honeywell, Honda and more. Smaller divisions of big companies use Voice123 more than you know.

    “He is auditioning for $100 gigs”. No, I filter my Voice123 account preferences so that I never get sent anything under $1,000. You can do that. One of my recent Voice123 jobs netted me $4,300 in two hours. You certainly CAN audition for $100 jobs if you want. I don’t.

    I made enough money in radio over 20 years to retire at 42 from that and focus on VO full time. So, I am also not trying to juggle auditioning and recording with working some other job. That would be impossible. A good portion of the work I have gotten from Voice123 required the talent to be in Los Angeles, so I have that advantage as well. I get called into Burbank/Hollywood/LA on a day’s notice, sometimes just a few hours. You can’t do well in Voiceover while having another job – at least I couldn’t. I’d never make it to recording sessions in the middle of the day.

    Everyone’s journey is different. This is mine. This is how I got here. Your results may vary. Feel free to stop by my website: jonarmond.com

    [Reply]

  15. AudioAuditor

    Respectfully, no one hires a casting director for a $200 job.

    [Reply]

  16. Paul Strikwerda

    As a blogger, I read 100% of the comments, and 99% of those comments are published, including yours.

    Seriously, there’s a reason why I’ve called voices dot con “unethical,” and your comment confirms it. Yet, the uninformed sign up for this site, and clients use it to find voices. My vote goes to http://www.voiceover.biz. It’s a non-profit site packed with vetted talent.

    [Reply]

  17. Jon Armond

    Wow, this is really interesting, reading all of the comments about pay-to-plays. I have no experience with voices.com but I can tell you that my experience with voice123 is not at all what many of you are describing. I don’t work for them, I have no affiliation with them at all but I’ll drop some truth on you…I signed up at the end of July, 2015 for the first time. I paid $395 like everyone else. In the past 11 months that $395 fee has netted me $21,455. No joke. I do have 4 agents in different cities and I get work from them too, but I have gotten so much work (both initial and repeat) from Voice123 that I am currently on a waiting list for their $5,000 “see every audition” membership. Call me crazy, but if I can turn $395 into $21,455 by only seeing 25% of the auditions I’m suited for…well, do the math. I have no explanation as to why it hasn’t worked well for you guys – voice123 has been absolutely terrific for me.

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    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    I’m really glad that voice123 is clearly working for you. It would be a mistake though, to conclude that your experience is exemplary. There are too many factors in the mix to explain your success in simple terms. But you know what? Keep on doing what works for you, and enjoy the ride!

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    AudioAuditor Reply:

    When you look up this fellow, you find that he had 20+ years on-air as a radio ‘personality’. This is not the same as 99.9% of the folks who are new to ‘the biz’. IN all those years you collect thousands of radio commercials which are professionally produced, written by actual writers and recorded in an actual studio. On-air guys do LOTS of commercials for free which air on their shows. So, this is a guy with 20+ years experience. It would be a shock if he didn’t do this well. I am happy for him and I mean to take nothing away from him.

    Can I compete with him? No. Can you? I don’t know. HOwever, this guy would be much better served by an actual ‘agent’ who would submit him for real, national work for big accounts which pay big fees plus royalties. Why he is screwing around with this stuff, essentially ‘bottom feeding’, is the big mystery here.

    When you see some guy claiming to make $100K+ per year and he is auditioning for $100 gigs you have to wonder: What would the guy who just paid him $1,500 for a national spot think if he heard the guy on some stupid 30 second spot for dog food or gutter cleaning. I don’t think he’d hire him again.

    The Lexus showroom does not have any $15,000 cars off in the corner for a good reason. The cheap cars cheapen the brand. The $100 spots identify you as a $100 talent. This is going to bite these guys in the ass.

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    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Thanks for your response, AudioAuditor. I just want to let you know that I always welcome comments, but I normally don’t accept reactions from people hiding behind an online identity. I ask my commentators to be open and accountable.

    Jon Armond Reply:

    Since I am that “fellow”, I figured I would clear up a few things from “AudioAuditor”. Yes, I do have 20 years experience in radio. All those years talking for a living was my gateway to Voiceover. As frustrating as this business can be even with those qualifications, I can’t imagine trying to break into VO having never been behind a mic before. I don’t think I would be up for that.

    “On-air guys do LOTS of commercials for free which air on their shows”. That is true, and it was certainly true of my first 10 years in radio. After that, these became “paid celebrity endorsements”, for which I was grossly overpaid.

    “This guy would be much better served by an actual ‘agent’ who would submit him for real, national work for big accounts”. Thanks for the tip. I have 4 agents, actually…one in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Minneapolis. They get me work, too. I never said that Voice123 was my only source for getting VO work. Not remotely. But, through Voice123 I have gotten “real national work for big accounts” like Draft Kings, Pepsi, Honeywell, Honda and more. Smaller divisions of big companies use Voice123 more than you know.

    “He is auditioning for $100 gigs”. No, I filter my Voice123 account preferences so that I never get sent anything under $1,000. You can do that. One of my recent Voice123 jobs netted me $4,300 in two hours. You certainly CAN audition for $100 jobs if you want. I don’t.

    I made enough money in radio over 20 years to retire at 42 from that and focus on VO full time. So, I am also not trying to juggle auditioning and recording with working some other job. That would be impossible. A good portion of the work I have gotten from Voice123 required the talent to be in Los Angeles, so I have that advantage as well. I get called into Burbank/Hollywood/LA on a day’s notice, sometimes just a few hours. You can’t do well in Voiceover while having another job – at least I couldn’t. I’d never make it to recording sessions in the middle of the day.

    Everyone’s journey is different. This is mine. This is how I got here. Your results may vary. Feel free to stop by my website: jonarmond.com

    AudioAuditor Reply:

    I don’t get it.

    But, really:

    “I have no explanation as to why it hasn’t worked well for you guys – voice123 has been absolutely terrific for me.” -Jon
    —————–

    Yes, I have the explanation!. It’s right there. Jon is a talented fellow with 20 years experience behind the microphone. He has done hundreds (thousands) of radio commercials for free and hundreds (thousands) more as a “celebrity spokesperson”. He is one of those hard working and talented guys who has “made it”. He got to where he is over the course of twenty years and is retired (from radio, at least) at age 42.

    I applaud his talent, his efforts, his accomplishments.

    Except for the fact that he doesn’t understand why everyone else hasn’t made it. Huh? It ‘hasn’t worked well for you guys’ because so many of us are new and/or not as talented. Or, both. I think that’s pretty simple.

    And, it is also sensible and fair and ethical.

    If someone tells us it will ‘work well for you guys’ while knowing darn well it almost certainly won’t then we have an ethical lapse, particularly if they profit from the deception, IMHO.

    And, please, I mean no disrespect to Jon, nor do I wish to minimize his talents and success. Maybe he’s a tiny bit smug? I dunno. Maybe.

    [Reply]

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