YouTube in talks with record labels to develop AI tool that allows creators to use artists’ voices
Reports claim that it’s been challenging to find top artists willing to participate.
Image: Mateusz Slodkowski / SOPA Images via Getty Images
YouTube is developing an AI tool that would allow creators on its platform to use the voices of famous artists.
If plans go ahead, a beta version will be rolled out to a small group of users first, who will agree to participate and create video content using the new tool.
According to Billboard, YouTube had hoped to debut the new AI tool at its Made On YouTube event back in September, but negotiations with labels remain ongoing.
Major labels Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group are reportedly still negotiating licensing deals that would cover voice rights for the beta version. It is believed a wider-scale launch would require further separate agreements.
Sources tell the publication that it’s been challenging to find top artists willing to participate in allowing their voice to be used, with “even some of the most forward-thinking acts hesitant to put their voices in the hands of unknown creators who could use them to make statements or sing lyrics they might not like.”
However, the labels reportedly view the deal as potentially “precedent-setting for future AI deals to come,” according to sources. The key issues in negotiations from labels surround how the AI model is trained, and ensuring that artists have the option to opt-in or out.
There are also concerns about how monetisation works and whether or not artists are paid for the use of their music as an input into the AI model, or for the output that’s created using the tool.
Billboard claims that YouTube is seen as an important, reliable early partner in this space to the labels, based on the platform’s Content ID system that identifies and monetises copyrighted materials.
In other AI developments, an app called Hook is set to launch next year, which helps fans create remixes for social media such as TikTok, and also ensures that artists receive compensation for the use of their music.
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