Musicians, Artists Call For Protection From AI

The music industry has banded together to express its concerns about the arrival of artificial intelligence (AI) and demand better protections.

An open letter stated that “the artist and songwriting communities call on AI developers, technology companies, platforms and digital music services to cease the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to infringe upon and devalue the rights of human artists.”

Among the 200 signatories to the letter are the likes of Billie Eilish, the estate of Bob Marley, Jon Bon Jovi, Imagine Dragons, Nicki Minaj, Mumford and Sons, Pearl Jam, R.E.M, Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, and T-Rex, to name but a few.

Open letter

The letter, issued by the Artist Rights Alliance advocacy group, is calling for protections against the use of artificial intelligence that mimics human artists’ likenesses, voices and sound.

It makes a broad demand that technology companies pledge not to develop AI tools that undermine or replace human songwriters and artists.

“Unfortunately, some platforms and developers are employing AI to sabotage creativity and undermine artists, songwriters, musicians and rightsholders,” the letter states.

It said that “some of the biggest and most powerful companies are, without our permission, using our work to train AI models.”

It also said these efforts are directly aimed at replacing the work of human artists with massive quantities of AI-created “sounds” and “images” that “substantially dilute royal pools that are paid out to artists.”

The letter said that unchecked AI is a race to the bottom.

“This assault on human creativity must be stopped,” the letter concluded. “We must protect against the predatory use of AI to steal professional artists’ voices and likenesses, violate creators’ rights, and destroy the music ecosystem.”

The letter “called on all AI developers, technology companies, platforms and digital music services to pledge that they will not develop or deploy AI music-generation technology, content, or tools that undermine or replace the human artistry of songwriters and artists, or deny us fair compensation for our work.”

It comes after music producers have used artificial intelligence tools in a variety of ways in recent years, in one case employing AI to isolate John Lennon’s vocals from an old demo track and use them to create a “new” Beatles song that was released last year.

AI’s impact

Concern about the impact of AI on jobs and livelihoods are increasing.

Last week the left-of-centre thinktank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), warned that almost 8 million UK jobs could be lost to artificial intelligence in a “jobs apocalypse”.

In January this year the spread of pornographic AI-made images of Taylor Swift also drew additional attention to the malicious use of AI deepfakes.

Earlier this week OpenAI opted to delay the general release of its voice cloning tool, after it had in February released a tool (Sora) that could create short form videos just from written text instructions.

Last September Spotify said it was testing an AI-powered system that translates podcasts from English into other languages using the speaker’s own voice.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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