- Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said concerns from labels and music companies about AI are “legitimate.”
- Ek said it’s working with partners to protect artists, but still wants innovation on its platform.
- His comments come after AI-generated songs that sound like popular artists went viral this month.
The music industry has “legitimate concerns” about songs generated by AI, the CEO of Spotify said.
AI-generated music that mimic the voices of artists, including Drake and Rihanna, have circulated online in recent weeks and even made their way onto streaming platforms such as Spotify, raising concerns about copyright infringement and royalties.
Daniel Ek addressed the industry’s growing unease about AI music in Spotify’s first quarter earnings call Tuesday and said it’s working with partners to come up with solutions.
“I think the AI pushback from the copyright industry or labels and media companies, and it’s really around really important topics and issues like name and likeness, what is an actual copyright, who owns the right to something where you upload something and claim it to be Drake, it’s really not and so on. Those are legitimate concerns,” Ek said.
His comments come after Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest record company, told Spotify and Apple to ban AI companies from using lyrics and melodies from its material under copyright and training its generative models on Universal’s catalogue.
Ek also said Spotify was working with its partners to “establish a position” where it can protect creators but also permit innovation on its platform.
AI appears to be a hot topic for the streaming platform, given the term was mentioned 13 times on the investors’ call.
The point of discussion comes as an AI-generated cover of Beyoncé’s song “Cuff It” in the likeness of Rihanna was shared on Twitter earlier this month, which has since had more than 18,000 likes.
“This is the final straw,” Drake wrote in an Instagram story after a AI-generated cover of him rapping Ice Spice’s hit song “Munch” went viral on social media.
An AI-generated “collaboration” featuring Drake and The Weeknd called “Heart on My Sleeve” also made waves online earlier this month.
Not all musicians share the same view, though. Grimes, the former partner of Elon Musk and mother to two of his children, tweeted Monday that she’d share half the royalties from any AI-generated song using her voice.
“Same deal as I would with any artist i collab with,” she wrote. “Feel free to use my voice without penalty. I have no label and no legal bindings.”
—𝔊𝔯𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔰 (@Grimezsz) April 24, 2023
MIDia Research noted in a recent report that AI is lowering the barriers to entry for content creation, but that the “mid- to long-term sticking point will orient around rights ownership and creative attribution.”
Spotify didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.