Paris-based digital music company powerhouse Believe came out with a strong message on Tuesday of this week. The company, who owns industry heavyweights like TuneCore (a distribution company who also has a publishing arm) and the newly-acquired UK publishing house Sentric Music, has pledged to block all AI streaming efforts via its platforms. Given the share of the market that Believe controls, this is a serious move!
A major concern for many top industry execs is that AI tracks are poised to flood the streaming market. Just last week, Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grange warned that, "the recent explosive development in generative AI will, if left unchecked, both increase the flood of unwanted content hosted on [music streaming] platforms and create rights issues with respect to existing copyright law in the US and other countries”.
The technology to detect fully-AI songs already exists, and it should be available to the majors and companies like Believe within the next one to two quarters. This sort of tech somewhat mirrors YouTube's pre-existing Content ID platform and could be revolutionary and disruptive... it's definitely something to look out for. This tech might very well be able to scan a track and spit out the rights holder information and writer splits... a feat that might put some publishers out of business!
Are Derivative AI Recordings Due Royalties?
Recent headlines like last week's shockingly accurate Drake AI copycat have sent the industry into a tailspin. Many questions are popping up in real time. For starters, are AI cover tracks considered 'derivative' works? If they are, shouldn't they be properly tracked so that the appropriate rights holders receive their fair share of streaming royalties? (We say yes.) Last week's Drake fiasco proved that creating AI covers without permission is, in fact, illegal. I'm sure Drake is entitled to some performance and mechanical royalties following the TikTok success of the 'ghostwriter' copycat, but he's certainly not hurting for that money.
This is definitely an important topic to be following in the upcoming months, as with this far-reaching AI technology, millions of artists could be vulnerable to being exploited. On the other side of the coin, these same artists could find themselves in a position to profit off of the generative AI tech. Monetization or exploitation? Or both? Only time will tell.
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