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Billie Eilish, Pearl Jam, Nicki Minaj Among 200 Artists Calling for Responsible AI Music Practices

Billie Eilish, Pearl Jam, Nicki Minaj Among 200 Artists Calling for Responsible AI Music Practices

Billie Eilish, Pearl Jam, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Elvis Costello, Darius Rucker, Jason Isbell, Luis Fonsi, Miranda Lambert and the estates of Bob Marley and Frank Sinatra are among more than 200 signees to an open letter targeting tech companies, digital service providers and AI developers over irresponsible artificial intelligence practices, calling such work an “assault on human creativity” that “must be stopped.”

The letter, issued by the non-profit Artist Rights Alliance, calls on such organizations to “cease the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to infringe upon and devalue the rights of human artists,” stressing that any use of AI be done responsibly. “Make no mistake: we believe that, when used responsibly, AI has enormous potential to advance human creativity and in a manner that enables the development and growth of new and exciting experiences for music fans everywhere. Unfortunately, some platforms and developers are employing AI to sabotage creativity and undermine artists, songwriters, musicians and rights holders.”

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Artists, songwriters and producers from all genres, several generations and multiple continents added their names to the letter, from younger artists like Ayra Starr to legends like Smokey Robinson and organizations like HYBE. In particular, the signatories point to the use of AI models trained on unlicensed music, which they call “efforts directly aimed at replacing the work of human artists with massive quantities of AI-created ‘sounds’ and ‘images’ that substantially dilute the royalty pools that are paid out to artists. For many working musicians, artists and songwriters who are just trying to make ends meet, this would be catastrophic.”

“Working musicians are already struggling to make ends meet in the streaming world, and now they have the added burden of trying to compete with a deluge of AI-generated noise,” Jen Jacobsen, executive director of the Artist Rights Alliance, said in a statement accompanying the letter. “The unethical use of generative AI to replace human artists will devalue the entire music ecosystem — for artists and fans alike.”

Over the past year or so, many in the music industry have echoed similar calls for the ethical and responsible use of artificial intelligence, which left unchecked has the potential to undermine copyright law and make issues like streaming fraud, soundalikes and intellectual property theft much more rampant, much more quickly. There have been Congressional hearings on the matter, and states like Tennessee have begun introducing and passing legislation hoping to protect creators and intellectual property owners from deception and fraud, broadening laws and addressing ethical use. Universal Music Group has developed a task force to address the issue, and UMPG has cited TikTok’s AI approach as one of the reasons for the standoff between the two companies that is ongoing, while the RIAA, Warner Music Group and others have all weighed in stressing that protecting IP from unlicensed AI overreach is of utmost importance.

“We must protect against the predatory use of AI to steal professional artists’ voices and likenesses, violate creators’ rights, and destroy the music ecosystem,” the letter concludes. “We call on all digital music platforms and music-based services to pledge that they will not develop or deploy AI music-generation technology, content, or tools that undermine or replace the human artistry of songwriters and artists or deny us fair compensation for our work.”

Read the full letter and see the list of signatories here.

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