Spotify will not ban music made by AI, says CEO Daniel Ek

Ek says that the technique of using AI in music is likely to be debated for “many, many years” to come.

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Spotify logo

Spotify logo. Credit: Jakub Porzycki

Spotify boss Daniel Ek has confirmed that the streaming giant won’t ban AI-generated music.

Earlier this year, an AI-generated song using the voices of The Weeknd and Drake was removed from Spotify and some of its competitors such as Apple Music and Tidal.  The song, titled Heart On My Sleeve, reportedly generated 20 million streams overall in under 48 hours.

Now, however, Ek has argued in a new interview with BBC News that there were valid uses of artificial intelligence in making music.

Despite this, he says that in the case of Heart On My Sleeve, AI shouldn’t be used to impersonate real artists without their consent.

Ek says that the technique of using AI in music is likely to be debated for “many, many years” to come. He says he thinks it’s acceptable for AI to be used as a tool to improve music, like with Auto-Tune, but considers the idea of using AI to create music clearly influenced by existing artists – but not impersonating them – to be more contentious.

When asked about the challenge the industry is facing in regulating the use of artificial intelligence, Ek responds: “It is going to be tricky.”

 “You can imagine someone uploading a song, claiming to be Madonna even if they’re not. We’ve seen pretty much everything in the history of Spotify at this point with people trying to game our system,” he explains.

“We have a very large team that is working on exactly these types of issues.”

Spotify currently doesn’t allow its content to be used to train a machine or AI model, the likes of which can then produce music.

Ek’s most recent comments on the matter come after the Council Of Music Makers (CMM) published five fundamental rules it wants companies to embrace when it comes to developing AI music technologies.


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