Universal Music Group has called on Apple and Spotify to remove artificial intelligence (AI)-generated music from its streaming platforms for using lyrics and melodies of copyrighted songs.
According to a Financial Times report, the group which controls one-third of the music market has been sending emails to streaming platforms to remove songs that infringe on its copyrights.
With the rise of generative artificial intelligence, AI bots have been training themselves on existing music and replicating music that sounds similar to popular songs.
Some of these songs are now listed on streaming platforms. But UMG is all out to prevent copyright infringements and has sent takedown requests to streamers.
In an email seen by FT, the company said it “will not hesitate to take steps to protect our rights and those of our artists.”
Besides asking streaming platforms to remove songs, UMG also requests that they remove access to their music catalogs so they won’t be used for AI training.
According to the UMG spokesperson, the company has “a moral and commercial responsibility to our artists to work to prevent the unauthorised use of their music and to stop platforms from ingesting content that violates the rights of artists and other creators.”
Generative AIs vs. publishers
The case highlights the battle over intellectual property between generative AI developers and publishers. Several publishers have expressed concerns about the content of generative AI. They believe that publishers should earn from AI-generated content.
IAC chairman Barry Diller recently said publishers should not make the same mistake with AI they made with the internet.
“The industry can get together and say, ‘We’ve got enough people on our side to stop it.’ The other side is more difficult to do, but companies can absolutely sue under copyright law,” he said.
Music AI tools gaining traction
While written content has been the most popular form of AI bot generation in recent months, other forms, such as audio and video AI content, are also gaining traction.
One popular AI tool for audio was the drayk.it website. The platform allows users to enter any prompt and get a clip with lyrics and sound similar to Drake’s. Drayk.it has since shut down.
There is also PluggingAI, a YouTube platform that uploads AI-generated songs that combine possible lyrics of one artist with the sounds of another. For example, some songs sound like Kanye West singing SZA lyrics.
Meanwhile, the biggest innovation for audio-generated AI content is Google’s MusicLM. The platform, trained on 280,000 hours of music, also generates songs from text prompts.
A research paper that analyzed the tool reported a “risk of potential misappropriation of creative content.” About 1% of the music generated are direct copies of already copyrighted work.
Due to these issues, Google has not released the tool as it wants to solve that problem first.