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Daniel Ek Confirms Spotify Will Not Completely Ban AI-Made Music

Keesha Tang

Spotify will not completely ban all Artificial Intelligence (AI)-made music, according to the company’s CEO Daniel Ek, in a comment made to the BBC.

There are “legitimate” uses for AI within the industry [Daniel Ek]

In his latest statement, Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek stated that he did not agree with software which mimics artists without their consent, but acknowledged that there are “legitimate” uses for AI within the industry.

The grey area described by Ek concerns music generated by AI that does not violate Spotify’s rules as it does not use AI to directly copy an artist, but instead is “clearly influenced by existing artists”.

Additionally, Spotify has prohibited using its database to train AI machines.

The presence of AI in music has been around for years, such as the use of auto-tune popularised by the 1998 song Believe by Cher, distorting vocals to correct their pitch.

Auto-tune is considered by Spotify to be an acceptable use of AI, despite its negative reception when it was initially popularised.

More recently, the use of AI has been under scrutiny after the AI-generated song, Heart on My Sleeve, was released by artist ghostwriter977 in April earlier this year.

The main appeal being the short time taken for a track to be produced

The vocals on the song were AI-generated, made to sound like musicians Drake and The Weeknd. 

The track garnered approximately 600,000 streams before being removed by Spotify. On TikTok, where the song was originally released, ghostwriter977’s videos had been watched over 15 million times. 

Heart on My Sleeve proved to be a catalyst for the release of other AI-generated songs using other artists’ voices, with the main appeal being the short time taken for a track to be produced using the software.

The song sparked major controversy, including concerns regarding copyright infringement, as well as the ethics behind using AI to create songs. 

Concerns regarding AI polluting the artistry and organicity

The debate on the use of AI in music remains a contentious one, as some artists have acknowledged the usefulness of AI. 

For example, AI is used to help artists in their writing process, with musician Aaron Horn regarding the tool as a “rhythmic dictionary“.

Conversely, other musicians have spoken up against the use of AI-generated music, with concerns regarding AI polluting the artistry and organicity of creating music. 

Irish singer Hozier has stated that he would consider striking against AI in the music industry, and British musician Kamille has expressed the importance of not depending on AI when crafting music.

The AI Safety Summit held by the UK government is set to take place in the beginning of November, in hopes of addressing these concerns, and the regulations companies should impose moving forward.

Keesha Tang

Featured image courtesy of Alexander Shatov via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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