It’s taken a day for music companies to wake up to the newest advance in AI — AI-generated music.
Apple and Spotify have taken down a viral AI-generated track by Drake and The Weeknd. The track had racked up tens of millions of views across platforms within days of being posted. Universal Music Group (UMG) has now responded to the track, and hinted it was “fraud” which denied artists their true compensation.
“UMG’s success has been, in part, due to embracing new technology and putting it to work for our artists–as we have been doing with our own innovation around AI for some time already,” the company said in a statement.
“With that said, however, the training of generative AI using our artists’ music (which represents both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law) as well as the availability of infringing content created with generative AI on DSPs, begs the question as to which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation,” the company added.
“[This] begs the question as to which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation. These instances demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists. We’re encouraged by the engagement of our platform partners on these issues–as they recognize they need to be part of the solution,” UMG said.
The track has now been taken down on Apple, Spotify, Tidal and Deezer. As of writing, it’s still up on Soundcloud and YouTube.
UMG’s quick move to have the track taken down wasn’t entirely unexpected — we’re hinted this was a distinct possibility when we’re written about the viral track yesterday. ” The music industry is exceedingly litigious, and will likely take products like these to the courts. Napster had similarly tried to provide free music in the early 2000s, but after protracted court battles, was eventually shut down. It could be a while before record labels are comfortable with their artists’ voices — and songs — be created artificially or sung by other singers through AI,” our article from yesterday had noted.
UMG has now swiftly responded to the AI-generated song, spoken out against it in the strongest terms, and had it taken down from some platforms. It remains to be seen how this battle between AI musicians and record labels plays out, but the outcome of these tussles could well determine how courts react to other contentious issues in AI, such as the use of copyrighted material for training image generation models, and the use of copyrighted text to create models like GPT.