UMG on AI songs: music industry stakeholders should consider “what side of history” they want to be on

Drake recently responded to a viral AI track that emulated his voice, writing “this is the final straw” in a social media post.

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Universal Music Group (UMG) has released a statement regarding an AI-generated track that emulated the rapping style of Drake.

The AI-generated track, ‘fake Drake’ which raps Ice Spice’s Munch, went viral earlier this April and has since been pulled from streaming services that include Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify and more.

UMG also requested streaming services to block AI companies from accessing songs from its catalogue to “train” their AIs in an email last month (March), following a huge spike in AI-emulated music gaining traction online.

The viral track was also brought to the attention of Drake himself, who on social media wrote, “this is the final straw AI,” as he shared a post regarding UMG’s stance on the technology.

Since these headlines broke, UMG provided a statement to Music Business Worldwide, where a spokesperson said: “UMG’s success has been, in part, due to embracing new technology and putting it to work for our artists – as we have been doing with our own innovation around AI for some time already.

“With that said, however, the training of generative AI using our artists’ music (which represents both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law) as well as the availability of infringing content created with generative AI on DSPs, begs the question as to which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation.”

It continued, “These instances demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists.

“We’re encouraged by the engagement of our platform partners on these issues – as they recognize they need to be part of the solution.”

The use of AI in music is growing exponentially, despite the controversy surrounding it. Just last week (14 April), a UK-based band released an entire fake Oasis album using AI to emulate the vocals of Liam Gallagher. The project was released under the name of AISIS, and emulated what a lost record from the band could sound like.


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