Universal wants streaming platforms to block their catalogue from AI training

“We will not hesitate to take steps to protect our rights and those of our artists.”

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Image: Huber & Starke

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Universal Music Group has requested that streaming services block AI companies from accessing songs from its catalogue to “train” their AIs.

The Financial Times reported that the request was made in an email sent last month to major streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music. The music industry giant said it had become aware that certain AI services had been trained on copyrighted music. This was done apparently done “without obtaining the required consents” from the song owners, UMG said, reminding the services that they must prohibit these services for using their platforms for training purposes.

“We will not hesitate to take steps to protect our rights and those of our artists,” the letter read.

Billboard has since confirmed the legitimacy of the email with multiple sources from both UMG and the streaming platforms, with UMG issuing a statement on 12 April that reads, “We have a moral and commercial responsibility to our artists to work to prevent the unauthorised use of their music and to stop platforms from ingesting content that violates the rights of artists and other creators. We expect our platform partners will want to prevent their services from being used in ways that harm artists.”

Deadmau5, AKA Joel Zimmerman also recently weighed in on the emergence of AI-generated music, remarking that the phenomenon is “pretty scary,” but not in a doom-and-gloom way. “But it’s scary in the sense of how stupid music already is anyway, so it’s not that frightening. Like, ‘This thing can make a pop song!’ Have you heard a pop song? Great. Let it go. Unleash the beast, you know – holy shit would that ever open up the niche market for actual musicianship,” he remarked.

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