Hozier would “absolutely” strike over the threat of AI on the music industry

The indie musician discussed the current US actors and writers strike, where AI is also a concern.

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Hozier on stage, he is gripping on to a microphone on a stand and singing

Image: Robin Little / Getty

Indie musician Hozier has said he would “absolutely” join strike action if any were to take place due to the threat of AI in the music industry.

AI technology is currently being used to emulate vocals, replicate lyrical and production styles, and even form music from brain scans.

Music industry figures have been consistently divided on whether or not the tech is beneficial or a threat to artists since it began being used more prominently over the last year.

Artists such as Grimes, David Guetta and more have shown interest and support in AI, with Grimes even allowing people to use an AI version of her vocals to make music via her own software. Others such as Will.I.Am and Nick Cave however, have assumed more concerned stances.

Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire on Newsnight yesterday (17 August), Hozier weighed in with his view: “Whether [AI is] art or not, I think, is nearly a philosophical debate. It can’t create something based on a human experience. So I don’t know if it meets the definition of art.”

He continues, “Actors at the moment… there’s huge strikes on at the moment. Yeah, a huge part of that is that [AI] can be used to create a product without human labour.”

Hozier was then asked if he could imagine going on strike over AI in music, to which he responds: “Can I imagine? Yeah. Joining in solidarity if there was action on that? Absolutely.”

Earlier this month, it was reported that Google and Universal Music Group are currently in talks over licensing issues that surround ‘deepfake’ AI music. Both companies are supposedly hoping to create a partnership through which deepfakes can be shared, with royalties going to Universal.

Hozier’s new album Unreal Earth lands today (18 August) – view his website for a full list of upcoming live dates.


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