In a development that can have far-reaching implications on the AI-generated music and entertainment industry, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek stated that the music streaming platform has no plans to entirely ban content created by AI. However, he emphasized the value of ethics in using AI while producing music.
The music streaming giant Spotify recently found itself in the headlines earlier this year when it removed a track featuring AI-cloned voices of superstars Drake and The Weeknd. This demonstrated the company’s stance on AI-generated music and the ethical considerations surrounding it.
Spotify Categorizes Three Types of AI-Generated Music
Classifying the types of AI used in music, Ek put forward the following segmentation. While AI tools for enhancing music, like auto-tune, which improves the quality of music, is acceptable, he stated that Spotify wouldn’t accept AI-generated music that directly imitates human artists without their consent.
As the debate about the use of AI in creative industries continues to gain momentum, artists like Hozier questioned whether AI truly meets the definition of art.
Again, there’s a gray area where music created by AI is influenced by existing artists but doesn’t directly impersonate them. He also acknowledged that the music industry is going through challenges in identifying these distinct types of music, and ethical concerns continue to be crucial.
While Spotify doesn’t ban all forms of AI content, the platform prohibits its content from being used to train machine learning or AI models for music production.
Interestingly, neither Drake nor The Weeknd was aware of the AI-cloned version of their voices in the song “Heart on My Sleeve”. When it was removed from Spotify and other streaming platforms last April, Ghostwriter, the creator of the track, tried to have it nominated for a Grammy but was unsuccessful.
Spotify Remains Committed To Mitigate Fake Artist Impersonations
Ek also expressed his commitment to addressing issues like artificial inflation of streaming figures and fake artist impersonations on music platforms. Incidentally, they have a dedicated team looking into these challenges.
You can imagine someone uploading a song claiming to be Madonna, even if they’re not. We’ve seen pretty much everything in the history of Spotify at this point with people trying to game our system.Daniel Ek, Spotify CEO
Discussing Spotify’s significant investments in podcasts, including high-profile deals with Michelle and Barack Obama and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Ek stated that while some podcast ventures were profitable, others weren’t.
Spotify eyes toppling Apple as the leading podcast platform, and it is actively taking on several new creators. Ek also expressed support for the incoming Online Safety Bill regarding regulations, besides supporting the Digital Markets Bill in the UK. These measures would enhance online safety for children and improve competition by putting tech giants under scrutiny.
He didn’t hesitate to express his concerns about the policies of Apple and Google’s app stores, particularly their commission fees on in-app purchases.
The CEO argued that these fees have been severely impacting their business and the ability to communicate directly with customers. Previously, the company has complained to the European Commission about Apple’s practices, and the issue still remains under review.