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Google And Universal Music In Talks To License AI-Generated Songs

Google and Universal Music are negotiating a deal to license artists’ melodies and voices for songs generated by artificial intelligence (AI).

According to the Financial Times, the discussions are confirmed by four people familiar with the matter.

It aims to strike a partnership for an industry grappling with the implications of new AI technology.

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Artists and song producers are heavily impacted by the rise of generative AI, with multiple AI-produced songs that mimicked Drake and The Weekend going viral online.

In April, Drake slammed another song that used AI technologies to mimic his voice, calling the AI-generated recording of him rapping to an Ice Spice track “the final straw”. 

Universal Music general counsel Jeffrey Harleston told US lawmakers last month that an artist’s voice was the most valuable asset of their livelihood and public persona.

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“To steal it, no matter the means, is wrong.”

The deal between Google and Universal Music aims to develop a tool for fans to create these tracks legitimately and pay copyrights to the owners.

A person familiar with the matter said, Warner Music, the third-largest music label, has also been negotiating with Google about a product.

On Tuesday, Robert Kyncl, the CEO of Warner Music Group, said artists should have a choice when it comes to AI music. 

“(AI) enables fans to pay their heroes the ultimate compliment through a new level of under-driven content…including new cover versions and mash-ups,” Mr Kyncl said.

“There are some that may not like it, and that’s totally fine.”

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