The rise of AI-generated music has sparked concerns over copyright infringement, with Universal Music Group (UMG) calling on streaming services to block AI services from harvesting melodies and lyrics from copyrighted songs. According to a report from the Financial Times on April 13, UMG has been sending requests to take down AI-generated songs “left and right,” as they have been popping up on streaming services with increased frequency.
AI bots have had access to music catalogs on streaming platforms, which developers have used to train the technology. However, UMG has become “increasingly concerned” about AI bots using intellectual property to produce music identical to actual artists. A source close to the situation said that this next generation of technology currently emerging poses “significant issues.”
Until now, developers have used music catalogs on streaming platforms to train AI models. However, this practice could be problematic because AI-generated music could potentially infringe on the intellectual property rights of the original artists. For instance, AI could compose a song that resembles Taylor Swift’s lyrics, but with vocals and themes of other popular artists like Bruno Mars and Harry Styles. The output would be due to the fact that the AI has been trained on those artists’ intellectual property.
One Twitter user posted an example of an AI-generated song that features an AI-version of the famous rapper Jay-Z, which is almost indistinguishable from the real Jay-Z. The user said that as a fan of Jay-Z, he “enjoyed” the track but doesn’t know if he should feel “good or ashamed” for liking AI-generated music.
The issue could only be the beginning of what could be in store for the music industry in its fight against AI technology taking advantage of intellectual property rights. Along with AI-generated music on Twitter and popular streaming platforms, entire YouTube pages are popping up, remaking well-known music via AI technology.
In response to the issue, UMG has taken an artist-first stance, writing in emails to the streaming services that “we will not hesitate to take steps to protect our rights and those of our artists.” The same Twitter user also tweeted a clip of an AI model of Kanye West singing along to the tracks of rapper Drake’s song “Hold On.” Examples like this touch on the exact fears UMG is currently raising about streaming services.
Google has also announced its own machine-learning music apparatus called MusicLM, which will be able to generate “high-fidelity music from text descriptions.” The application has yet to be released; however, Google has released an entire page on GitHub of sample music generated with insights about how it was generated.
In conclusion, the emergence of AI-generated music has raised concerns over copyright infringement and intellectual property rights in the music industry. As AI technology continues to advance, it will be increasingly important to protect the rights of artists and ensure that their work is not being replicated without their consent.