Spotify, the world’s leading music streaming platform, has been at the center of numerous debates, especially concerning the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in music. Continue reading to find out what Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO, perspective is on this issue.
AI in Music: The Controversy
Earlier this year, Spotify removed a track that featured AI-cloned voices of popular artists Drake and The Weeknd. This action raised discussions about the ethical ramifications of using AI in the music industry. Ek clarified that while there are legitimate uses for AI in music creation, it shouldn’t be employed to impersonate human artists without their permission. Ek predicts that this discussion will go on for “many, many years.”
The Three “Buckets” of AI Use in Music
Ek categorized the use of AI in music into three distinct “buckets”:
Enhancement Tools: These are tools like auto-tune that enhance music. Ek believes these are acceptable.
Mimicry Tools: Tools that directly copy artists are not acceptable.
The Gray Area: This involves music created by AI that is influenced by existing artists but doesn’t directly impersonate them. This is where the challenge lies, as Ek mentioned, “It is going to be tricky.”
AI and Spotify’s Policies
While Spotify doesn’t ban AI-generated content outright, it prohibits the use of its content to train machine learning or AI models that can produce music. This stance comes from growing concerns from artists about AI’s role in the creative industries. Notably, Irish musician Hozier expressed concerns over AI’s threat to the profession, questioning if such technology truly “meets the definition of art.”
The Ghostwriter Controversy
The track “Heart on My Sleeve,” created by Ghostwriter using cloned voices of Drake and The Weeknd, was not only removed from Spotify but also faced rejection for a Grammy nomination. Ek highlighted the challenges Spotify faces, stating, “You can imagine someone uploading a song, claiming to be Madonna, even if they’re not.” He emphasized that Spotify has a team working to address these issues.
Beyond Music: Spotify’s Investment in Podcasts
Spotify’s endeavors aren’t limited to music. The platform has made significant investments in podcasts, including high-profile ones from figures like Michelle and Barack Obama and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. While some of these investments have been successful, others haven’t met expectations. Ek candidly admitted, “The truth of the matter is some of it has worked, some of it hasn’t.”
Regulation and the Tech Giants
Daniel Ek’s visit to the UK wasn’t just about music. He discussed the incoming Online Safety Bill and the Digital Markets and Competition Bill. Ek has been a vocal critic of Apple and Google’s app store policies, especially the commission rates they charge developers. He expressed concerns about the duopoly of these tech giants, stating, “We are in a situation where literally two companies in the world control how over four billion consumers access the internet.”
Navigating the realm of technology and music, is a complex one. As AI continues to advance, platforms like Spotify will play a crucial role in shaping the future of the music industry. With leaders like Daniel Ek at the helm, one can hope for a balanced approach that respects both innovation and artistic integrity.
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Original Article from https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-66882414
Photo by Nainoa Shizuru from Unsplash