YouTube Sets AI Music Principles and Music Incubator with Artists

YouTube Sets AI Music Principles and Music Incubator with Artists

YouTube is working with Universal Music Group (UMG) on principles for AI music, as the use of the technology in the music industry continues to gain traction.

The alliance between the two organizations is expected to help strike a balance between boosting the adoption of AI and keeping music profitable for artists. This will also ensure the two companies develop AI tools that provide “safe, responsible and profitable” opportunities to music rights-holders.

There are two aspects to the partnership.

The YouTube AI Music Incubator

YouTube has acknowledged that AI “is here” and the company is willing to further explore the opportunities the technology has to offer.

But first, an AI Music Incubator, which will influence the company’s AI strategy. Under this programme, YouTube will create new tools and programs, working closely with artists and the music business.

The music incubator programme was launched on Monday, August 21 in close collaboration with musicians from UMG including Anitta –who was recently signed to UMG’s Republic Records.

Other artists mentioned include Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus, producer Louis Bell, the fast-rising artists d4vd, the Frank Sinatra estate, Max Ritcher, Don Was, Ryan Tedder, Rodney Jerkins, Rosanne Cash, Yo Gotti, and Juanes among others.

“This talented group (of artists/producers) will help gather insights on generative AI experiments and research that are being developed at YouTube,” said YouTube CEO Neal Mohan in a blog post.

“We’re also excited to welcome our partners across the industry into the program as we move forward. Working together, we will better understand how these technologies can be most valuable for artists and fans, how they can enhance creativity, and where we can seek to solve critical issues for the future,” added Mohan.

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AI music principles

Apart from the AI Music Incubator, the company also revealed a set of three principles that will guide its music-based AI tools.

Worth noting is that the company will ensure future music-based tools they will create will “include appropriate protections and unlock opportunities for music partners.”

According to engadget, the principles are still “vague” and the video platform will release more details later including details on policies, technologies and monetization for creators.

From the three principles listed, the bottom line is YouTube fully embraces AI music but also thinks there must be policies that provide “appropriate protections” against copyright violations. AI music must also create opportunities for the stakeholders involved. Although YouTube did not further clarify this, it indicated it will build on the content ID systems that “help rights holders flag their material.”

“AI is ushering in a new age of creative expression, but it must include appropriate protections and unlock opportunities for music partners who decide to participate,” reads part of the principles.

“AI is here, and we will embrace it responsibly together with our music partners.”

The Google-owned company which already has systems in place to identify misinformation, copyright abuse and other violations on its platform says it will scale up its content policies in line with adapting to the growing AI.

According to Reuters, YouTube will also further invest in AI-powered technology, including evolving copyright management, tools, and content ID to protect both creators and consumers.

Human creativity remains unique

As generative AI continues to gain traction in the music industry, it has also drawn widespread criticism centered around copyright protection and fears it will eclipse human creativity. However, UMG chairman who also helped shape the principles, Sir Lucian Grainge highlighted AI is created only to “empower human creativity and not the other way.”

“AI will never replace human creativity because it will always lack the essential spark that drives the most talented artists to do their best work, which is the intention,” he said.

“From Mozart to The Beatles to Taylor Swift, genius is never random.” This is in relation to the surviving members of The Beatles who are creating a song from the late John Lennon’s recording using AI while another AI track imitating Drake’s voice featuring the Weeknd went viral garnering criticism.

Grainge also highlighted how this collaboration with YouTube will help position the music industry by leveraging AI technology.

“Our challenge and opportunity as an industry is to establish effective tools, incentives and rewards –as well as rules of the road – that enable us to limit AI’s potential downside while promoting its promising upside,” said Grainge.

“If we strike the right balance, I believe AI will amplify human imagination and enrich musical creativity in extraordinary new ways.”

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.