YouTube Sets Its “AI Music Principles” And Partners With Universal Music Group On New AI Incubator

With artificial intelligence currently front and center across the creative community, YouTube has published a set of AI music principles and launched something it’s calling the YouTube Music AI Incubator with a group of artists, songwriters and producers from Universal Music Group.

The principles, which the giant Alphabet/Google-owned platform said “are rooted in its commitment to collaborate with the music industry alongside bold and responsible innovation in the space” are three. They were developed with UMG chairman-CEO, Sir Lucian Grainge, and shared today by YouTube CEO Neal Mohan.

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They include: a commitment to embrace AI responsibly in partnership with the music industry; protections “that help balance the interests of copyright holders with those of the creative community on YouTube”; and scaling up safeguards (through Content ID policies, detection and enforcement systems) to AI-generated content to address challenges like trademark and copyright abuse, misinformation, spam.

“Our challenge and opportunity as an industry is to establish effective tools, incentives and rewards – as well as rules of the road – that enable us to limit AI’s potential downside while promoting its promising upside. If we strike the right balance, I believe AI will amplify human imagination and enrich musical creativity in extraordinary new ways,” said Grange in a YouTube guest blog post.

“Artificial Intelligence is built to empower human creativity, and not the other way around.  AI will never replace human creativity because it will always lack the essential spark that drives the most talented artists to do their best work, which is intention. From Mozart to The Beatles to Taylor Swift, genius is never random,” he added.

The AI Music Incubator, meanwhile, is a program that will bring together UMG creatives – an initial group including Anitta, Björn Ulvaeus, d4vd, Don Was, Juanes, Louis Bell, Max Richter, Rodney Jerkins, Rosanne Cash, Ryan Tedder, Yo Gotti, and the estate of Frank Sinatra – to help inform YouTube’s approach to generative AI in music.

“While some may find my decision controversial, I’ve joined this group with an open mind and purely out of curiosity about how an AI model works and what it could be capable of in a creative process. I believe that the more I understand, the better equipped I’ll be to advocate for and to help protect the rights of my fellow human creators,” Ulvaeus said.

Noted Juanes, “I’m looking forward to working with Google and YouTube as part of this influential group of UMG artists to assure that AI develops responsibly as a tool to empower artists and that it is used respectfully and ethically in ways that amplify human musical expression for generations to come.”

“The tech world and the music distribution ecosystem are quickly evolving to embrace this transformative technology and, unless artists are part of this process, there is no way to ensure that our interests will be taken into account,” said Richter.

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