YouTube to compensate artists and rightsholders for AI-generated music

Godfrey Elimian
YouTube creators can now live stream together with its new collaboration feature

YouTube has announced it is launching a service called YouTube’s Music AI Incubator to help inform its approach to Artificial Intelligence by working with artists, songwriters, and producers across the industry to decide how to proceed. It says that going forward, it will find a way to compensate artists for AI-generated music.

The program is part of its broader plans to approach the impact of AI technology on the music industry regarding its video hosting platform and its existing partnerships across the music industry, including with artists, labels and other rightsholders. While the company is bullish on AI’s potential to “enhance music’s unique creative expression,” it also says it needs to protect the integrity of artists’ work.

The statement which was released via its blog, says in part. “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 inflexion point, it’s clear that we need to boldly embrace this technology with a continued commitment to responsibility.”

To kick off the program, YouTube is working with Universal Music Group (UMG) and its roster of talents, including songwriter and producer Anitta; songwriter, producer and entrepreneur Björn Ulvaeus; musician, composer and producer Don Was.

Others are Columbian musician Juanes; producer Louis Bell; composer Max Richter, songwriter and producer Rodney Jerkins; singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash; songwriter and producer, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic; rapper, musician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Yo Gotti; and the estate of Frank Sinatra.

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.

According to the platform, the three principles it seeks to pursue in the coming months are that “AI is here, and we will embrace it responsibly together with our music partners. AI is ushering in a new age of creative expression, but it must include appropriate protections and unlock opportunities for music partners who decide to participate”. Lastly, “We’ve built an industry-leading trust and safety organization and content policies. We will scale those to meet the challenges of AI.”

Unlike YouTube, UMG has been more hesitant to embrace AI. Earlier this year, it asked streaming services like Spotify to prevent AI companies from using its music to train their models, for example. It also issued copyright strikes on AI-generated YouTube videos that leveraged its artists’ work. When a viral AI song that replicated Drake and The Weeknd’s vocals went viral, UMG had the song pulled from Spotify and Apple Music.


Read also: YouTube Shorts hits 2bn monthly views surpassing TikTok and Instagram Reels

How YouTube intends to embrace Generative-AI

YouTube alludes to its historical understanding of this tension between new technologies and compensation, noting that, over the years, it’s “made massive investments over the years in the systems that help balance the interests of copyright holders with those of the creative community on YouTube.”

The company adds that it already has policies about technically altered content intended to deceive viewers, noting that trust and safety are essential for this system to function. In a similar vein, it intends to scale those systems to prevent the use of generative AI for illegal activities, false information, and spam. Instead, it intends to identify this kind of information using AI technologies.

YouTube says it will share more details about how its new system for AI music will work in terms of the specific technologies, monetization opportunities, and policies being developed in the future.

“I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity of AI to supercharge creativity around the world, but recognize that YouTube and the promise of AI will only be successful if our partners are successful,” wrote YouTube CEO Neal Mohan, in an announcement. “Together, we can embrace this new technology in a way that supports artists, songwriters, producers, and the industry as a whole while driving value for fans and pushing the bounds of what’s creatively possible,” he said.

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!

Register for Technext Coinference 2023, the Largest blockchain and DeFi Gathering in Africa.

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!