Spotify CEO is working with labels to curb AI use: “These are very complex issues that don’t have a single straight answer”

The platform also emphasised the need to strike a balance between allowing innovation and protecting artists.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

Image: Ilya S. Savenok / Stringer / Getty Images

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Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has assured artists and rights holders that they are working with record labels to address concerns over AI use in music.

The exec addressed the elephant in the room during Spotify’s Q1 earnings call, where they were asked how the platform will be tackling the various complications associated with AI-generated music moving forward — as seen in the recent fake Drake track case.

“I mean, first off, let’s acknowledge that this is an incredibly fast moving and developing space,” Ek began. “I don’t think in my history with technology I’ve ever seen anything moving as fast as the development of AI currently is at the moment.”

He noted that Spotify had to balance two distinct responsibilities: first, to allow innovation of creative works and second, that of protecting existing creators and artists. Both of which the company takes “very seriously”, Ek said.

“We’re in constant dialogue with the industry about these things. And it’s important to state that there’s everything from… fake tracks from artists, which falls in one bucket to… just augmenting using AI to allow for expression, which probably falls in the more lenient and easier bucket.”

Ek added that “these are very, very complex issues that don’t have a single straight answer,” though he assured that Spotify is “in constant discussion with our partners and creators and artists and want to strike a balance between allowing innovation and, of course, protecting artists.”

The CEO also made sure to separate Spotify’s AI DJ from the wider AI copyright discourse, noting that on the “AI DJ… we’ve had nothing but positive reactions from across the industry”.

“[T]he AI pushback from the copyright industry, or labels and media companies, is really [concerned with] issues like ‘name and likeness’, what is an actual copyright, who owns the right to something where you upload something and claim it to be Drake [when] it’s really not, and so on. Those are legitimate concerns.”

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