YouTube is Looking for a Way to Compensate Artists for AI Music


Streaming platform YouTube is looking for a way to fairly compensate music artists when parts of their music are used for AI-generated tunes.


With AI-generated music making a breakthrough, both the music industry and streaming services are thinking about a future where man-made music will sit alongside machine-generated tunes. Record labels naturally see an existential threat in artificial intelligence and are increasingly asking streaming services not to make their music available for AI training.

But YouTube, part of Google, naturally has an interest in both camps: the parent company is one of the major global players in the development of artificial intelligence, and itself – including through its music streaming service YouTube Music – needs music artists for its income.

That is why it is working on new technology – perhaps an extension of its existing Content ID system – that should make AI music a part of the platform. AI has the potential to “expand the unique creative expression of music,” YouTube claims. The future technology that the streaming platform is building should offer opportunities to monetize it while at the same time protecting the rights of music artists – on whose works music AI is trained. That is why a body is now being created that YouTube has dubbed its Music AI Incubator, where artists, producers and songwriters will work with the company on ideas for a fair distribution of AI revenue.

The program kicks off with the collaboration of record company Universal Music Group, which features some of its well-known names: producer Björn Ulvaeus (once an Abba member), film composer Max Richter, singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, One Republic- singer Ryan Tedder, and Frank Sinatra heirs.

The fact that Universal is the first partner in the initiative proves that this connecting approach works. The record company has been very critical of AI-generated music in the recent past: when an AI song featuring the simulated voices of Drake and The Weeknd went viral earlier this year, the company – which has Drake under contract – took steps to make the song disappear from Spotify and Apple Music.

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