Alec Foster • 2023-04-21
Generative AI, Copyright
As technology progresses at an alarming rate, the music industry needs to address AI-generated music and the potential implications for both established musicians and emerging artists.
The music industry is no stranger to technology's influence, but the recent explosion of a fake collaboration between Drake and The Weeknd has raised some red flags. The song "Heart on My Sleeve" amassed over 250,000 Spotify streams and 10 million TikTok views, despite being generated by an AI artist known as "Ghostwriter." As technology progresses at an alarming rate, the music industry needs to address AI-generated music and the potential implications for both established musicians and emerging artists.
Drake and The Weeknd have not publicly commented on the AI-generated track, but Drake has previously voiced his concern over AI-generated music that replicates his voice. Major artists like Jay-Z and Eminem have also encountered similar issues, with their agencies issuing copyright strikes against AI-generated deepfake songs on YouTube. Although some strikes were successful, others were reinstated as copyright law struggles to catch up with technological advancements. The legal code remains murky when it comes to generative AI, leaving the door open for subjective interpretation of transformative parody and transformative work.
Universal Music Group (UMG) has taken steps to curb the unauthorized use of its artists' music by AI companies. UMG requested streaming services like Spotify to prevent AI companies from using their artists' music to train models, citing the moral and commercial responsibility to protect artists and their creations. As the lines between human creativity and deep fakes blur, the music industry must determine which side of history it wants to stand on - the side of artists and their fans, or the side of AI-generated fraud.
The rapid rise of AI-generated music has pros and cons. On one hand, it can benefit estates of deceased musicians by allowing them to release new music and generate income for their heirs. However, it may also hinder the discovery of new musicians and bands if AI-generated music of fan-favorite artists saturates the market.
Technologists Mat Dryhurst and Holly Herndon, founders of Spawning AI, created a project called "Have I Been Trained" to give artists more control over their work. The project allows users to search for their artwork and determine if it has been incorporated into an AI training set without their consent. However, removing one's intellectual property from AI models can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.
The music industry must address the growing concern of AI-generated music and its potential impact on artists, their estates, and emerging talents. As technology continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, the industry must adapt and establish clear guidelines and protections to ensure artists' rights are respected and their creative output valued.