The Legal Battle Record Labels are Facing with Music Created by Artificial Intelligence

The Artificial Intelligence Revolution is here and it is being implemented in every industry that we could think of.

The music industry is no stranger to change. From vinyl to cassette tapes to CDs and digital streaming, the way we consume and distribute music has evolved drastically in the past few decades. But a new player has entered the game – artificial intelligence (AI) music creation – and with it, a whole new set of legal battles for record labels.

Understanding the AI Music Creation Process

Before we dive into the legal dilemmas surrounding AI-created music, let’s first understand how it’s made. AI music creation involves using algorithms and machine learning to generate music that imitates human composition. This can include melody, rhythm, and even lyrics. In fact, it has gotten so good that people are now making songs sounding like our favorite artists.

The first AI-generated Drake song that went viral was released in April 2023. The song, called “Heart on My Sleeve,” was created using a technology called “deepfakes.” Deepfakes are a type of artificial intelligence that can be used to create realistic videos or audio recordings of people saying or doing things they never actually said or did. In the case of “Heart on My Sleeve,” the deepfake technology was used to create a song that sounded like it was sung by Drake and The Weeknd, but was actually written and performed by an AI, having many people fooled.

The release of the song sparked a debate about the ethics of using AI to create music. Some people argued that it was wrong to use AI to create music that sounded like it was sung by a real person, while others argued that it was a new and innovative way to create music.

Universal Music Group (UMG) has been actively pursuing copyright infringement cases involving AI-generated music. In April, UMG filed a lawsuit against a company called Musiio, alleging that Musiio had infringed on UMG’s copyrights by using AI to create unauthorized remixes of UMG’s songs. UMG has also sent cease-and-desist letters to other companies that have created AI-generated music that UMG believes infringes on its copyrights.

UMG’s aggressive stance against AI-generated music has been met with mixed reactions. Some people have praised UMG for protecting its copyrights, while others have criticized UMG for stifling innovation. It remains to be seen how the courts will ultimately rule on these cases, but it is clear that UMG is taking a serious approach to copyright infringement involving AI-generated music.

The debate over the ethics of AI-generated music is likely to continue as the technology becomes more sophisticated. However, there is no doubt that AI is already having a major impact on the music industry. In the future, it is likely that AI will be used to create even more realistic and innovative music.

How AI Composes Music

To create music, AI algorithms are first fed with a database of existing songs to learn from. They analyze the patterns and structures of the songs, allowing them to recognize common elements such as chords, tempos, and harmonies. With this knowledge, AI can then start to generate its own original music.

It’s important to note that not all AI music is created equal. Some algorithms are more advanced than others, and some are designed to mimic specific genres or styles of music. For example, an AI algorithm that specializes in creating classical music may not be as effective at creating hip-hop or electronic music.

The Role of Human Input in AI Music Creation

While AI can create music independently, there is still a need for human input. Programmers and musicians often work together to fine-tune the algorithms and provide guidance on the desired outcome. They may also manually input certain elements, such as lyrics or specific melodies, to steer the AI in a certain direction.

Human input is also important for ensuring that the AI-created music is original and doesn’t infringe on existing copyrights. While AI can generate new melodies and rhythms, it may not necessarily understand the legal implications of using certain chord progressions or samples from existing songs.

Popular AI Music Tools and Platforms

There are several popular AI music tools and platforms available today, including Amadeus Code, AIVA, and Jukedeck. These platforms offer creators a way to generate royalty-free music quickly and conveniently, making them a popular choice for content creators and marketers.

Amadeus Code, for example, uses a database of over 30,000 melodies to generate new compositions based on user input. AIVA, on the other hand, allows users to create custom soundtracks for videos and other media by selecting a mood or emotion and letting the AI do the rest.

While these tools can be useful for generating background music or simple compositions, they may not be suitable for more complex projects that require a more human touch. Ultimately, the role of AI in music creation is still evolving.

The Copyright Dilemma in AI-Generated Music

So, who owns the rights to a piece of music created by AI? Is it the software programmer? The musician who guided the AI? or the record label who distributes it?

While AI-generated music has the potential to revolutionize the music industry, it also raises a number of complex legal and ethical questions.

Current Copyright Laws and Their Limitations

At present, copyright laws are not equipped to deal with AI-generated content. Under current laws, copyright ownership generally belongs to the person who created the work. But with AI, it’s not always clear who that person is. Does the software programmer who developed the AI hold the copyright? Or is it the musician who provided the input that guided the AI’s creative process?

One of the key challenges in determining copyright ownership in AI-generated music is that the creative process is often collaborative. In many cases, a team of programmers, musicians, and engineers work together to create a piece of music using AI. This makes it difficult to determine who should be considered the rightful owner of the final product.

The Debate Over AI as a Creator

Some argue that AI should be considered a creator in its own right. After all, AI has the ability to generate original works of art and music without human intervention. However, this would require a significant shift in copyright law and potentially open the door for AI to own its own creations.

There are also concerns that recognizing AI as a creator could lead to a devaluation of human creativity. If machines are able to create works of art and music that are indistinguishable from those created by humans, what does that say about the value of human creativity?

Notable AI Music Copyright Cases

There have already been several high-profile copyright cases involving AI-created music. In 2019, a group of AI-generated songs were submitted for a Japanese composer’s contest. The songs made it through the initial screening process and were only disqualified after it was discovered they were created by AI.

Another notable case involved a piece of music created by an AI program called Aiva. The piece, titled “Iamus,” was composed by Aiva and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. While the piece was well-received by critics, there were questions about who owned the copyright. Ultimately, the copyright was awarded to the creators of Aiva, rather than the musicians who performed the piece.

As AI-generated music becomes more prevalent, it’s likely that we will see more copyright cases involving it.

Record Labels’ Approach to AI Music

Currently, most record labels and music publishers are hesitant to invest in AI-created music as they do not want to risk legal battles over copyright ownership or have to pay costly licensing fees. This cautious approach is understandable, as there is still much uncertainty around the legal implications of AI-generated music.

However, some forward-thinking labels have already started exploring this potential. In 2018, Sony Music became the first major record label to release a song created entirely with AI. The song, called “Daddy’s Car,” was produced by Sony’s AI program, Flow Machines, and was designed to sound like a Beatles track. This experiment demonstrated the potential of AI-generated music and opened up new possibilities for music creation.

Potential Revenue Loss and Legal Challenges

If AI-generated music continues to gain traction, record labels may see a decline in their revenue streams as more creators turn to these platforms instead of traditional music licensing. This could lead to legal challenges as professionals lose work and revenue streams start to dry up.

Moreover, there is a risk that AI-generated music could lead to a homogenization of the music industry, with all songs sounding the same. This could result in a decline in creativity and diversity within the industry, which could ultimately harm both artists and listeners.

AI Music’s Influence on Artist-Label Relationships

Another potential impact of AI-created music is on the relationships between artists and record labels. With AI, creators no longer have to rely on a record label to produce and distribute their music. This could lead to a shift in power dynamic and contract negotiations between artists and labels.

On the one hand, AI-generated music could provide artists with more creative control over their work, allowing them to produce music without the constraints of a record label. But it could also lead to a devaluation of music as a whole, with an over-saturation of low-quality, AI-generated music flooding the market. 

As you can tell, everything is very grey.

Proposed Solutions and Future Implications

As more and more creators turn to AI-generated music, it’s clear that changes need to be made in terms of copyright ownership and the legal implications surrounding it. However, the implications of AI-generated music go beyond just legal issues.

Updating Copyright Laws for AI Creations

One proposed solution is to update current copyright laws to include specific provisions for AI-generated content. This could involve recognizing AI as a creator in its own right and establishing ownership rights accordingly. However, this approach raises questions about the nature of creativity and whether AI can truly be considered a “creator.”

Additionally, updating copyright laws would require a significant amount of legal reform and could take years to implement. In the meantime, AI-generated music will continue to be created and distributed without clear ownership and royalty agreements.

Establishing AI as a Collaborator

Another solution is to recognize AI as a collaborator in the creative process, with ownership rights distributed accordingly. This would require a significant shift in how we view the role of AI in creative industries but could provide a more practical approach to ownership.

However, this approach also raises questions about the role of human creativity in the creative process. If AI is recognized as a collaborator, does that diminish the role of human creativity in the music industry?

The Future of AI in the Music Industry

Regardless of the approach, it’s clear that AI is here to stay in the music industry. AI-generated music has already been used in a variety of contexts, from advertising to film scores.

However, the use of AI in music also raises questions about the future of the industry. Will AI-generated music eventually replace human-created music? Or will it simply become another tool in the creative process?

Despite these concerns, there are also exciting possibilities for the future of AI-generated music. For example, AI could be used to create personalized music based on individual preferences and moods. It could also be used to create entirely new genres of music that have never been heard before.

With our understanding of how AI creates music and the legal dilemmas surrounding it, it’s clear that the music industry is facing a new set of challenges. But with careful consideration and legal reform, we can create a brighter future for AI-generated music that benefits everyone involved.

If your mind is also thinking of the endless possibilities that this brings, below is a YouTube playlist we found that with a ton of AI made tracks/covers that you may enjoy.



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