The Weeknd, Harry Styles, Bruno Mars, Bad Bunny, and Taylor Swift are some of the biggest musicians represented by Universal Music Group. Rich Fury, Cindy Ord, and Terry Wyatt all contributed images to Getty Images.
One of the biggest labels in the music business, Universal Music Group, is getting more and more worried that artificial intelligence might be taking advantage of its musicians. In order to prevent the technology from scraping and training on copyrighted content, UMG has reportedly requested streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music to restrict AI’s access to music across platforms.
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As detailed in emails from the Financial Times, UMG is concerned about how AI companies could use music from the label’s artist list to train their bots to create music. As a result, UMG has asked streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music to block AI’s access to those platforms. UMG is one of the Big Three music companies and has over a third of the music industry’s market share at the end of 2022. UMG represents artists from massive pop powerhouses Taylor Swift and Harry Styles to smaller indie acts like CHVRCHES and Clairo.
“We will not hesitate to take action to protect our rights and those of our artists,” UMG wrote to unspecified streaming services in March, according to the FT. Universal Music Group did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
As the AI boom continues, there has been a significant surge in AI-generated art, with Adobe’s Firefly, Runway’s Gen-2 and OpenAI’s infamous DALL-E 2 demonstrating just how easy it can be for a computer to create videos and Create images from text. The problem with these generators is their clear tendency to simply lift pre-existing (often copyrighted) material from other sources just to turn it into an “original” work of art. This ethical dilemma came to a head last month when the US Copyright Office declared that AI art can only be copyrighted if a human creator can show that they put in significant effort, reports The Register. AI bots like ChatGPT have little trouble generating text.
While much ground has been laid in the case against AI-generated videos and images, AI-generated music is still an emerging application of the technology. Google has developed an AI that can generate music from a text description – similar to DALL-E 2 – but says it won’t release the bot.