Universal Music Group (UMG) has collaborated with BandLab Technologies to protect the rights of artists amid the rise in AI usage in the art and music industries. The two companies have agreed to form what they have said to be an “expansive, industry-first strategic relationship” on AI.
The partnership is expected to empower artists, including those within BandLab’s vast pool of social music platforms, while pushing a shared vow for ethical use of AI in the industry. This extends to the protection of artist and songwriter rights.
Protecting artists’ interests
Under the collaboration, BandLab has also committed to supporting a global coalition that is devoted to the sustainable use of AI, known as the Human Artistry Campaign (HAC). This initiative seeks to ensure that AI technologies are developed in a way that supports creativity.
“Together, the companies will also pioneer market-led solutions with pro-creator standards to ensure new technologies serve the creator community effectively and ethically,” stated the deal announcement.
“As the digital landscape of music continues to evolve, this collaboration is designed to be a beacon of innovation and ethical practice in the industry and herald a new era where artists are supported and celebrated at every stage of their creative journey,” added the statement.
BandLab has emphasized the protection of artist rights and the use of AI technology in an ethical and sustainable manner.
“It’s essential that artists’ and songwriters’ rights be fully respected and protected to give these future generations a chance at success,” said BandLab CEO Meng Ru Kuok.
The inevitable AI usage
The deal comes at a time when generative AI is increasingly becoming prominent in the music and art industries, with tools that enable anyone without skills to create audio and visual content using the likeness of artists.
“This is more important than ever right now as AI assumes an increasingly prominent place in the evolution of music creation tools,” said UMG digital chief Michael Nash.
“We look forward to establishing new creative, marketing, and commercial opportunities for our artists and actively engaging with BandLab’s creator community through a highly synergistic structure, collectively protecting today’s and tomorrow’s future superstars through responsible approaches to the utilization of AI in the creative process,” added Nash.
UMG is not new to championing the cause of artists amid the surge in AI in the music sector.
In August, UMG partnered with YouTube to establish an incubator to explore the use of AI in the music industry, with the help of artists such as composer Max Richter and rapper Yo Gotti. Prior to that, UMG and Google had begun conversations around AI copyright issues, and YouTube released its own set of principles for working with the music industry on AI technology.
Earlier, in April, UMG successfully lobbied for music streaming platforms like Spotify to remove an AI-generated song, “Heart on My Sleeve,” created by Ghostwriter using the voices of Drake and The Weeknd.
The ethical concerns
The “Heart on My Sleeve” song generated debate around ethical concerns about AI usage in the music and arts industries.
“We welcome BandLab’s commitment to an ethical approach to AI through their accessible technology, tools, and platform,” said UMG chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge.
“We are excited to add BandLab Technologies to a growing list of UMG partners whose responsible and innovative AI will benefit the creative community.”
UMG previously said it was working with about 140 organizations in the creative industries to support policymakers in coming up with frameworks that ensure AI technology benefits creators and does not prejudice them.