YouTube Sees a Future Where AI Will Clone Current Music, But Convincing Record Companies Won’t Be Easy

  • The company is experimenting with generative AI models that create music.

  • However, it has to license songs from record companies to train these models.

  • Meanwhile, the music industry has sued Suno and Udio for doing exactly that without permission.

YouTube sees a future where AI will clone today's music. Convincing record companies won't be easy
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The music industry has always been a fierce defender of its intellectual property. Just look at what's happened recently. The scandals that led to cases like Drake and The Weeknd’s AI song are one example, but YouTube is trying to look to the future.

Negotiations. According to the Financial Times, YouTube is reportedly  in talks with record labels to do something that seems almost impossible: License their songs and allow artificial intelligence tools to be used to create and clone music from contemporary artists.

Legally trained AI. Google’s video platform needs this content to legally train generative AI music models. Sources close to the company claim that Google is preparing to launch the new tools this year.

Of course, in exchange for a fortune. To convince the major record companies, YouTube is to have “recently offered large sums of money” to Sony, Warner, and Universal. The goal is nothing less than to convince more artists to let the company use their songs to train AI models.

But it won’t be easy. An executive at one of the record labels noted, “The industry is wrestling with this. Technically the companies have the copyrights, but we have to think through how to play it. We don’t want to be seen as a Luddite.”

YouTube already has an AI model that generates music. The company began experimenting with the product last year. Initially called “Dream Track,” YouTube designed it to mimic the voices and lyrics of famous artists. Only 10 artists agreed to let the company use their work to train it, including Charli XCX, Troye Sivan, and John Legend.

Now, YouTube wants to go further. Google’s video platform wants to replace the project with other unspecified ones. The company told the Financial Times that “we are not looking to expand Dream Track” but that it’s aiming to use these negotiations to create different products.

Licensing specific music, not all of it. Instead of the general agreements that companies like OpenAI have with publishing and media groups, YouTube is looking to license music from specific artists. The record labels would ultimately have to be convinced to participate in these projects, and the fees YouTube would pay are yet to be determined.

No royalties, just a one-time payment. As reported by the Times, the idea wouldn’t be to pay royalties to artists or record labels but to make a one-time payment to license their music and be able to use it to train the YouTube's AI models.

Meanwhile, the industry is suing Suno and Udio. The news comes as the major record labels have teamed up to sue Suno and Udio, two AI startups, accusing them of illegally using their works to train their AI models. The companies seek fines of “up to $150,000 per infringed work.”

Image | NorWood Themes

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