YouTube Chief Executive Officer, Neal Mohan, posted “Our principles for partnering with the music industry on AI technology”. From the blog post:
Today, AI is moving at a pace faster than ever before. It’s empowering creativity, sparking new ideas, and even transforming industries. At this critical inflection point, it’s clear that we need to boldly embrace this technology with a continued commitment to responsibility. With that in mind, over the past few months I’ve spent time talking with AI experts working across YouTube as well as leaders in one of the most influential and creative forces in the world: the music industry.
For nearly our entire history, YouTube and music have been inextricably linked. As a hosting platform, YouTube connected fans worldwide and quickly became home for iconic music videos and breakout artists. Our deep partnership with the music industry has enabled us to innovate and evolve together – building products, features and experiences, from our YouTube Music and Premium subscription services, to global live-streaming capabilities, that spur originality and bring communities and fans even closer together.
Now, we’re working closely with our music partners, including Universal Music Group, to develop an AI framework to help us work toward our common goals. These three fundamental AI principles serve to enhance music’s unique creative expression while also protecting music artists and the integrity of their work…
Fortune reported that in the world of technology, sixteen years is an eon. That many years ago, Apple launched its first iPhone, and IBM created Watson. YouTube, which had just been acquired by Google, rolled out a groundbreaking tool that could identify copyrighted music within the videos that users uploaded to its site.
Now, in a remarkable indication of how much the world has changed since that time, YouTube has a new mission for its trusty copyright detection tool: to identify an expected deluge of songs composed by artificial intelligence.
According to Fortune, Mohan said the company will embrace AI wholeheartedly but responsibly. It will collaborate with artists and record labels to explore new ways to us AI in music, while also prioritizing protecting the creative works of artists, which includes continuing to develop its Content ID system.
But with so few guidelines and established best practices for the new era of generative AI, YouTube will be in uncharted waters. As it puts its plans into practice, YouTube’s approach to policing AI-generated music on its platform, as well as its success and struggles in the effort, is likely to have an impact that goes well beyond its own website, according to experts.
The Verge wrote that the quick background here is that, in April, a track called “Heart on My Sleeve” from an artist called Ghostwriter977 with the AI-generated voices of Drake and the Weeknd went viral. Drake and the Weeknd are Universal Music Group artists, and UMG was not happy about it, widely issuing statements saying music platforms needed to do the right thing and take the tracks down.
Streaming services like Apple and Spotify, which control their entire catalogs, quickly complied. The problem then (and now) was open platforms like YouTube, which generally don’t take user content down without a policy violation – most often, copyright infringement… So UMG fell back on something simple: the track contained a sample of the Metro Boomin producer tag, which is copywrited, allowing UMG to issue takedown requests to YouTube.
Personally, I am not interested in listening to music that was created by an AI, especially if that music was intentionally scraped from the internet to feed to the AI. I prefer supporting the musicians that make their work easily accessible on Bandcamp.