The Music World Declares War on Artificial Intelligence

3 April 2024
The Music World Declares War on Artificial Intelligence

More than 200 musical artists, including famous names such as Billie Eilish, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj, signed a letter calling for the protection of artists’ rights against the misuse of artificial intelligence. So why?

The music world has always been open to innovation and benefited from the blessings of technology. When we first watched the world’s first virtual music group, Gorillaz, in the 2000s, we couldn’t help but be excited. Now things have changed a little more. There is almost nothing left untouched by artificial intelligence. For example, The Beatles made a new song 45 years later, thanks to artificial intelligence tools that made John Lennon’s voice reusable. The song also used parts recorded by surviving members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as the late George Harrison. Stage shows are also more spectacular thanks to artificial intelligence. The visuals and lights used in concerts are increasing in dimension. However, there are also developments in artificial intelligence applications that the music industry is worried about.

In April last year, the artificial intelligence tool that imitated the voices of The Weeknd and Drake and allowed the duo to create a song called “Heart On My Sleeve” made a lot of noise. This song, created by a user on TikTok, was published on platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube for a while, but the song was removed from the broadcast by Universal Music, which represents both artists, due to copyright law violation. (At least from official music platforms.)


The issue of producing songs with artificial intelligence seems to be in the gray area for now. There is no official sanction on this issue yet. But artists and their representatives think it is important to take action now. More than 200 musical artists, including names such as Billie Eilish, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj; signed an open letter to artificial intelligence developers, technology companies and digital platforms, calling for the protection of artists’ rights against the “predatory” use of artificial intelligence.

In this letter, the artists say, “We call on our technology and digital partners to work with us. “Let’s take action to make the music industry a responsible market, to protect the quality of music and to ensure that artificial intelligence does not replace humans,” he said. Signatories include many artists and groups such as Elvis Costello, Norah Jones, Nicki Minaj, Camila Cabello, Kacey Musgraves, Jon Batiste, Pearl Jam, Sam Smith. This letter was one of the biggest collective actions the music industry has ever taken to defend themselves and other artists in today’s climate.

The Music World Declares War On Artificial Intelligence
Yapay Zeka


Of course, it is not only The Weeknd and Drake duet that caused this sudden development. We currently see similar usage on most social media platforms. We often come across local examples of these. You may remember the version of Güneş’s popular song “One of My Crimes” covered by Ariana Grande and The Weeknd. There are many examples like this. Many accounts also describe how this was done.

Not only social media users, but also large companies are not slowing down on the use of artificial intelligence in the music industry. In November last year, we came across news that YouTube was testing an artificial intelligence tool that copies the voices of musicians. The experimental feature, called “Dream Track,” allowed users to create short songs by defining attributes such as lyrics and mood. Nine artists, including Charli XCX, Troye Sivan, T-Pain and Sia, allowed their voices to be “cloned” by the software.

The Music World Declares War On Artificial Intelligence

However, this application had limited access. Only 100 content creators in the USA could use this system for the soundtracks of videos in the YouTube Shorts application, YouTube’s TikTok rival. Universal, which petitioned for the removal of the song “Heart On My Sleeve”, which was created using Drake and The Weeknd’s artificial intelligence-generated vocals, supported YouTube’s application this time. Google, which owns YouTube, also announced that it would develop many different AI music projects in the future.


There is also a side that does not oppose the issue of songs created with artificial intelligence. David Guetta and Grimes say they are open-minded about this. World-famous pop star Grimes had developed her own solution to the copyright impasse of AI songs. The star, who made an open call to her listeners to make new Grimes songs and stated that she could also give them raw sound files if they wanted, said that she would share half of the royalties with successful songs created by artificial intelligence that use her voice.

But what if a creator misuses a song by Grimes? He made the following comment about this possibility: “We can take down toxic songs. I don’t like making rules, but I don’t want to be responsible for a Nazi anthem either. “We prefer to avoid political stuff, but if it turns out to be something like a little joke between you and your friends or being anti-abortion, we won’t punish that.”


The music industry is starting to support bills that would protect its works from copyright issues, but these efforts are mostly aimed at lawmakers. Earlier this year, hundreds of artists introduced the No AI Fraud Act. This call, published by the Artist Rights Alliance (ARA), aimed to protect a person against deepfakes, voice clones and all kinds of productive artificial intelligence abuses made without the artist’s consent, resulting from unauthorized copying of his or her identity. Saying that the use of artists’ works to train some artificial intelligence models and systems is “an attack against human creativity”, ARA warned the music industry that it was used badly to “violate artists’ rights and destroy the music ecosystem”.

For now, it does not seem possible for artificial intelligence to take away musicians’ jobs. However, since there is no definitive law on this issue yet, the issue sometimes boils down to entertainment. Let’s see what will happen in the coming days. We will watch and see.