The Music Industry Is Split On AI

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Richard Awoyemi
Richard Awoyemi

So, have you heard about the recent developments in music and AI? Some fascinating things are happening that are worth discussing. Let me tell you about a couple of things that caught my attention.

Drake & The Weeknd - Viral AI Track

The song "Heart on My Sleeve", featuring AI-generated voices that sound like Drake and The Weeknd, went viral on TikTok. It got over 15 million listens before being taken down from streaming platforms due to a complaint from Universal Music Group (UMG).

UMG claimed that the song violated copyright laws and breached their agreements. They argued that streaming platforms have a "legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists."

The case is complicated because a human wrote the song, so it might be uncertain whether a copyright violation exists. This situation highlights the inflexion point that the music industry and society as a whole face in the use of AI. It is just the beginning of a lengthy discussion on the role of AI in music.

Grimes Royalty Share

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Canadian synth-pop artist Grimes has invited AI artists to use her voice without fear of legal action or copyright infringement. She tweeted that she would split 50% of royalties on any successful AI-generated song using her voice. This is obviously in response to the controversy surrounding the track taken down by Universal Music Group.

Grimes added that she has no legal bindings and suggested that she would be happy to see her work used in fusion with machines. The artist collaborated with mood music start-up Endel to develop an AI-generated lullaby app in 2020. Grimes did not clarify what constituted a "successful" AI-generated song using her voice. Still, she said tools to simulate her voice and train other artists' voices would eventually be available.

Final Thoughts

Generative AI has disrupted several sectors, including visual art, writing, online media, and voiceover work. However, as usual, regulations tend to lag behind innovation, meaning such technologies' legal and ethical implications still need to be resolved. What do you think about the use of AI in music? It's a fascinating topic that will undoubtedly generate more discussions and debates in the future.

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