YouTube is apparently working on a new AI tool that could give content creators the ability to produce songs using the voices of famous singers and musicians.
According to a recent Bloomberg report, the platform has approached several record labels with this technology with negotiations still ongoing. YouTube is trying to obtain rights to use certain songs to train the AI while also trying not to step on any land mines that would lead to them getting sued to high heaven. We’re already seeing a similar situation happen with OpenAI as it’s currently being sued by 17 authors, including A Song of Ice and Fire creator George R.R. Martin, who all allege ChatGPT is illegally using their work. Bloomberg states musicians and labels want to maintain control over their work so developers aren’t using it “to train models without permission or compensation.”
Originally, a beta of this tech was supposed to be shown off during the Made On YouTube event last month. Billboard states in their report the beta would have had a “select pool of artists [give] permission to” certain creators to use their likeness on the platform. Eventually, it would officially launch as a feature where everybody can try using the voices of consenting artists.
The response from the music industry at large has been mixed. Bloomberg claims “companies have been receptive” agreeing to work with YouTube on this project. However, Billboard states record executives have had a tough time finding artists willing to participate. Some acts feel anxious about putting their voices into “the hands of unknown creators who could use them to make statements or sing lyrics” that they don’t agree with.
YouTube is trying to position itself as everybody’s best friend – as a partner to help the music industry figure this whole thing out. However, the air is gloomy. The industry sees generative AI as an unstoppable force, but it’s not an immovable object. The technology is an inevitability that they’ll have to deal with or they risk getting left behind.
Ray of positivity
There’s another snag in all this regarding publishing. Making music isn’t a one-person show as there are entire teams involved in production. To solve this, a Billboard source says YouTube will probably give labels one big licensing fee that they have to “figure out how to divide among” songwriters.
Despite the dour attitude, there is some positivity. Billboard claims rights holders are engaging in “good faith to get a deal done” amicably. A few artists do “recognize these models could open new avenues for creative expression.” Record executives may be less keen as another Billboard source states AI can put “companies at a disadvantage”.
We’ll just have to wait and see what comes from all this. Again, YouTube’s new model could help people explore their creative side assuming deals are made fairly.
While we’re on the topic of production, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best free music-making software for 2023.
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