Recast is redefining the way users engage with written content online by turning articles into rich, podcast-like summaries. After grappling with challenges from previous Text-To-Speech (TTS) providers, they partnered with WellSaid Labs for unparalleled quality, reliability, and service.
Recast’s mission is straightforward and powerful: to help you actually consume and enjoy the deluge of interesting written content online, instead of letting it languish in open tabs and read-later apps. It does this by turning articles you care about into concise, rich podcasts where its virtual hosts explain the article to you, not just summarize it. They have actual dialogue that makes all the difference for it to be enjoyable and absorbable.
Recast’s CEO co-founder, Adam Altman, has worked in podcasting tech for over a decade. Drawing on lessons learned about making engaging audio, he saw an opportunity with the latest crop of AI tech to make information overload digestible and pleasurable for busy people.
Inspired by a personal struggle with unread articles and newsletters, Recast set out to offer a solution that transcends merely converting text into audio. While there are endless opportunities for turning text web content into audio, Recast opted to focus on “turning articles into podcasts for real”, engaging the listener rather than just reading the text aloud. They were ambitious in their pursuit and ready to bring this idea to life. And they always knew the quality and reliability of voices would make or break this experience.
When it came to actualizing their concept, the Recast founders wanted the best possible voices to bring their content to life. Their initial foray with another voice provider left them with robotic and unengaging results, proving unsuitable for their goal of transforming articles into compelling, podcast-like content.
Adam knew that finding the right voices was vital for Recast. TTS services were widely available, but none had achieved the engaging, authentic podcast feel he was aiming for. This challenge was not just about technicality but also about achieving the right level of language informality and personality, critical for keeping the audience captivated. “The key to the podcast feel is a truly conversational tone, like a friend sitting next to you,” he says.
Recast’s next attempt at a solution led them to a different provider, which showed some promise initially but fell short in delivering reliable, quality services. The API was often unresponsive or outright failing, sometimes looping randomly on words, which was disruptive and a non-starter for the seamless experience they wanted to provide their users.
Rather than sinking resources into automating quality assurance, they recognized it would be more productive to seek a new voice provider. Their quest took them through several alternatives, with recommendations even coming from TikTok. While the sound of voices is the most apparent (and fun!) part about Recast’s TTS choice to its users, the unglamorous but critical factor was finding a provider that is reliable and consistent.
In the world of APIs, reliable performance is paramount. And WellSaid Labs has architected our API with this in mind. We prioritize uptime, quick response times, and consistency of service. These factors are at the heart of our API’s performance, and ultimately, they drive the reliability that our customers have come to expect from us.
The Recast founders’ search for a better solution led them to WellSaid Labs. Intrigued by highly positive mentions, they decided to give it a try. They were immediately impressed, not just by the high quality of the voices, but more importantly, by the speed and consistency of the service.
“WellSaid Labs was a breath of fresh air from the jump,” said Adam. “Its voices had the right feel and texture, no question, but the big surprise was the consistency and speed. There just wasn’t another provider, big or small, that had both. We knew this was it: the provider that could help us realize the vision of Recast.”
After extensive technical pressure testing and focused user testing on voices, the decision was clear. WellSaid Labs outperformed the competition in every way that mattered to Recast. It wasn’t just the quality of the voices that stood out but the reliability of the API, the consistency of pronunciation, and even smaller things like consistency in volume across different voices.
Both Adam and design co-founder Verena found WellSaid’s female voices particularly impressive. They weren’t going to make a product overly dominated by male voices, but noted, “WellSaid Labs was the first time we heard good female voices anywhere. Period. It’s shocking how much less others seem to have invested here.”
With WellSaid Labs, Recast was finally able to create a product that is reliably compelling. They no longer needed to maintain backups or deal with unreliable APIs. Their engineering burden was significantly reduced, saving them considerable resources and allowing them to focus more on their core product.
The speed and reliability of WellSaid Labs’ API even allowed them to offer their users a faster turnaround time. With less than a second to first byte, Recast’s scripting integrations can send back finished audio faster than they thought possible—an experience that both delighted their customers and significantly enhanced the product’s perceived value.
Reflecting on their journey, Adam said, “With WellSaid Labs, we either get comments that the voices are amazing, or once in a while some people are shocked to find out they’re not human. Combined with our ability to depend on WellSaid as a partner, we can easily say this was a phenomenal decision for us.”
In the end, it wasn’t just about the quality and reliability of WellSaid Labs’ service, but the unparalleled customer experience that won over Recast. Their flexible and understanding approach allowed Recast to scale their product effectively while ensuring the highest standards of quality.
Recast’s journey with WellSaid Labs has been one of growth, inventiveness, and ultimately, success. The decision to partner with WellSaid Labs wasn’t just about finding a solution, it was about finding the right solution that would help Recast transform the way people consume written content—turning text into rich audio summaries that truly engage listeners.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better partner in this journey,” Adam concluded. “WellSaid Labs’ commitment to quality, consistency, and customer service is unparalleled. Their voices are not just voices, they’re the soul of our product.”