YouTube Wants Record Labels’ Permission To Train AI Music Tools

Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

YouTube Wants Record Labels’ Permission To Train AI Music Tools

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  • Andrea Miliani

    Written by: Andrea Miliani Tech Writer

  • Justyn Newman

    Fact-Checked by Justyn Newman Head Content Manager

Youtube has been approaching major record labels like Sony, Universal, and Warner, to agree on licensing deals to train new AI music tools. According to the Financial Times, YouTube is developing AI technologies that will be launched later this year and wants permission to train them and clone artists’ music.

The tech giant wants to reach financial agreements to avoid legal repercussions, just like OpenAI has been doing with major publications and media corporations like Time and News Corp.

YouTube has also reached out to artists. Last year, ten artists—including Troye Sivan, John Legend, and Charli XCC—agreed to participate in a test product to create music clips called “Dream Track.” In May, YouTube shared updates for the app including instrumental music generated by AI to this tool. “We’re excited to continue to ideate more Dream Track features that we hope enable deeper engagement between music fans and artists on YouTube,” states the document.

And new projects other than Dream Track and involving licensed music are in development. “We’re not looking to expand Dream Track but are in conversations with labels about other experiments,” declared Google to the Financial Times.

However, YouTube’s strategy could affect and upset artists as well, especially those who have already spoken out against this type of technology. According to The Guardian, just two months ago, a group of over 200 artists— including Stevie Wonder, Billie Eilish, J Balvin, and Nicki Minaj— signed an open letter against the use of AI technologies similar to the ones YouTube is developing. “We must protect against the predatory use of AI to steal professional artists’ voices and likenesses, violate creators’ rights, and destroy the music ecosystem,” states the document.

A few users on Reddit have already expressed their concern regarding YouTube’s deal attempts. “This represents a significant disadvantage for artists, who receive minimal compensation while enduring corporations have the ability to market their art—or a convincing imitation of “new” art in their style—indefinitely, even after the demise of the artist’s descendants,” wrote one user.

Painters and photographers have also shared their concerns over AI taking over human art, and have created new platforms like Cara in order to protect human-created content from major tech giants.

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