Nicki Minaj, Billie Eilish, Katy Perry and other musicians sign letter against irresponsible AI

A group of 200 musicians have signed an open letter calling on tech companies and developers not to undermine human creativity with AI music generation tools.

The list of undersigned artists is so complete and vast that it could make for a great line-up at Coachella: it includes Billie Eilish, Bob Marley’s Estate, Chappell Roan, Elvis Costello, Greta Van Fleet, Imagine Dragons, Jon Bon Jovi. , the Jonas Brothers, Kacey Musgraves, Katy Perry, Mac DeMarco, Miranda Lambert, Mumford & Sons, Nicki Minaj, Noah Kahan, Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow and Zayn Malik, among others.

“When used irresponsibly, AI poses enormous threats to our ability to protect our privacy, our identities, our music, and our livelihoods,” the letter reads. “Some of the largest and most powerful companies are using our work, without permission, to train AI models… For many working musicians, artists and songwriters just trying to make ends meet, this would be catastrophic . »

These artists are right. AI models that generate new music, art, and writing work by training on massive datasets of existing works, and in most cases, asking to remove your work from these models is a futile exercise. It would be like one of these artists trying to prevent anyone from pirating their music: that’s just not realistic. It’s already possible to create convincing deepfakes of popular artists, and the technology will only get better.

Some companies like Adobe and Stability AI are working on AI music generators that use licensed or royalty-free music. But even these tools could negatively impact artists who create music for TV commercials or other beats that an artist might license for their work.

Historically, musicians have been the most disadvantaged as technology becomes more and more sophisticated. First, it was file sharing that made it easy to get free music; Streaming has emerged as the answer to this problem, but it is not a solution that satisfies artists. The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) has spent years working to get better payouts for streaming artists – artists in the guild estimate that Spotify’s average streaming royalty rate is around 0, $0038, or about a quarter of a cent. So it makes sense that musicians remain skeptical of this emerging technology.

The authors also took a stand against the rise of generative AI. In July, more than 15,000 writers – including James Patterson, Michael Chabon, Suzanne Collins, Roxane Gay and others – signed a similar open letter, addressed to the CEOs of OpenAI, Alphabet, Meta, Stability AI, IBM and Microsoft .

“These technologies imitate and regurgitate our language, our stories, our style and our ideas. Millions of copyrighted books, articles, essays, and poetry provide the “food” for AI systems, endless meals for which there was no bill,” can we read in the authors’ letter.

But these tech companies aren’t listening. You can always go to ChatGPT and ask it to produce a passage in the style of Margaret Atwood — it’s not necessarily good, but it indicates that the great language model has ingested “The Handmaid’s Tale” and can spit out a degraded version of it. And since copyright law is not necessarily sophisticated enough to deal with generative AI, legal remedies are rather useless at this point.

“This attack on human creativity must stop,” the musicians say in their letter. “We must protect against the predatory use of AI to steal the voices and images of professional artists, violate the rights of creators, and destroy the music ecosystem.”


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