Music Industry Impact: How The Rise Of AI Is Bringing Up Ethical Concerns
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s spring editorial intern Katelyn Rodriguez. Find her on Instagram at @katelynrodwrites. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at email@example.com.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) has been steadily increasing over the last few months. With the introduction of sites like Chat GPT and Netomi, chatbots have been the topic of ethical conversations amongst journalists and those who use sites. However, there is also another form of AI on the rise, especially on social media sites like TikTok, Twitter and Instagram: AI celebrity voice generators. This newfound technology is quickly becoming so advanced that it’s being used to create new music from some of the most popular artists. This brings up a variety of ethical and plausible concerns for the music industry. So, are AI voice generators the future of the entertainment industry?
All in good fun or harmful?
Last month on TikTok, a video featuring an AI-generated collaboration between Drake and The Weeknd titled “Heart On My Sleeve” went viral. It gained thousands of views, shares and comments. It was later put on Spotify in its entirety. This led Universal Music Group to release a statement to Billboard, condemning the use of AI to create these songs, while also posing a question to key industry contributors about “which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation.” The song was taken off of Spotify shortly after, but not before it had garnered over 600,000 streams. Similar videos are popping up daily on social media of what supposedly sounds like your favorite artists. Some of these have also managed to go viral, such as Rihanna singing “Cuff It” by Beyoncé or Michael Jackson singing “I Feel It Coming” by The Weeknd. While these AI celebrity voice generated songs may be created all in the name of fun and getting to experience collaborations that may not otherwise happen, there could be lingering consequences.
What are the ethical implications?
There are a lot of ethical implications when it comes to using AI celebrity voice generators to create music. First and foremost is that by using songs that have already been released you are infringing copyright. This is because permission from the owner to reproduce or make a derivative of that work was not gained. In an article published by Variety shortly after the AI collaboration between Drake and The Weeknd was released, it mentions that Universal Music Group (UMG) told Financial Times that they have been “asking major streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music to block artificial intelligence companies from using its music to ‘train’ their technology.” Another question that comes up is reproducing the voice of a deceased musician, such as Freddie Mercury or Prince. While some people find this controversial and disrespectful to the artist’s legacy, some think it’s acceptable. There are also the estates of those deceased artists to think about, many of which are run by surviving family members. While some estates have agreed to use things like holograms to bring the essence of the artist back to life, many haven’t permitted individuals to use the deceased artist’s voice in the form of AI generated music. Both copyright infringement and lack of permission from the estates of deceased artists could lead to legal troubles from those attempting to use an artist’s music in this way.
A new coalition called the Human Artistry Campaign has been launched “to ensure artificial intelligence technologies are developed and used in ways that support human culture and artistry – and not ways that replace or erode it,” according to an article from Variety. The article also states that the goal of this coalition is “to ensure artificial intelligence technologies are developed and used in ways that support human culture and artistry – and not ways that replace or erode it.” The coalition’s website goes more in-depth about its principles and provides individuals with the opportunity to sign a petition in support of its mission.
Overall, AI will only continue to grow over the coming years, especially in terms of its mimicking capabilities. When it comes to social media users utilizing the software to create covers of songs or collaborations between their favorite artists, the ethical implications are something to consider before posting.
Do you think AI Celebrity voice generators should be used to create covers of songs or collaborations? Let us know in the comments!