Artificial Intelligence Audiobooks Are Not Necessarily Nerated on Amazon, Spotify, or the iTunes iCloud Collaboration Agreement (Revised)
Apple’s approach to digital narration is the opposite of competitor Amazon’s, whose Audible rules explicitly state that submitted audiobooks “must be narrated by a human.” Notably, its Kindles used to offer a text-to-speech feature, but this was discontinued a decade ago after copyright concerns were raised. It has been reported that there has been at least one artificial intelligence audiobook that appeared on Amazon, but it was later removed after being reported.
In addition to Amazon, Spotify has also been investing in making audiobooks the third pillar of its streaming service alongside music and podcasts. The Spotify audiobook ambitions have made headlines because of the company’s clashing with Apple’s rules about in-app payments.
Spotify declined to comment on changes made by Findaway or whether making SAG-AFTRA members’ content off-limits to Apple could be unfair to authors and narrators who are not part of the union. Apple did not respond to requests for comment.
Starling did not know that the company had not paid her for that part of the agreement. She believes she missed it because it was buried beneath more conventional sections prohibiting hate speech and sexually explicit material. Although Furlong narrated the audiobook and his voice would potentially be ingested by Apple’s machine learning algorithms, he was not party to the agreement that was signed by Starling as the book’s rights holder.