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AI services have been training on music hosted on streaming services like Apple Music, and Universal Music Group wants it to stop.
Most criticism of AI such as ChatGPT earning money off the back of unpaid creative people, has been focused on text. But now, according to the Financial Times, record labels are concerned about music.
Universal Music Group (UMG), responsible for around a third of the world’s music, reportedly contacted streaming services in March 2023 concerning AI. The group told the streamers that AI systems have been trained by scraping lyrics and melodies from
“We have become aware that certain AI systems might have been trained on copyrighted content,” said UMG’s email to streamers, “without obtaining the required consents from, or paying compensation to, the rightsholders who own or produce the content.”
UMG asked the streamers to block access to their music catalog for developers using it for training. “We will not hesitate to take steps to protect our rights and those of our artists,” continued the group’s email.
“We have a moral and commercial responsibility to our artists to work to prevent the unauthorised use of their music and to stop platforms from ingesting content that violates the rights of artists and other creators,” a UMG spokesperson told the publication. “We expect our platform partners will want to prevent their services from being used in ways that harm artists.”
“This next generation of technology poses significant issues,” an unnamed source told the Financial Times. “Much of [generative AI] is trained on popular music.”
“You could say: compose a song that has the lyrics to be like Taylor Swift, but the vocals to be in the style of Bruno Mars, but I want the theme to be more Harry Styles,” continued the source. “The output you get is due to the fact the AI has been trained on those artists’ intellectual property.”
Generative AI systems require an enormous dataset called a Large Language Model (LLM). Google, for instance, reportedly trained a system called MusicLM with 280,000 hours of music.
Google has not released MusicLM publicly, though, as it found that 1% of the music it generated was identical to previous recordings.
The Financial Times says that Spotify declined to comment. Apple has not yet commented publicly, nor are we expecting it to respond to our queries on the matter.
Apple itself is reportedly working on creating music via AI. In 2022, it bought AI Music, a UK-based startup specializing in the field.