Billie Eilish, Pearl Jam, Hundreds More Sign Open Letter Calling For Responsible AI Practices in Music

A coalition of more than 200 artists, songwriters, and producers, including Billie Eilish, Pearl Jam, and Nicki Minaj, has come together to demand responsible practices regarding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the music industry, Billboard reports.

This is far from the first criticism by musicians against AI-generated music. Rapper Ice Cube recently slammed AI-generated music as "demonic" in an interview with Full Send. He vowed to sue anyone who creates an AI version of him without permission, likening it to unauthorized sampling. Cube's comments highlight growing concerns about the ethical implications of AI in the music industry.

“Imma sue the motherf***a who made it and the people and the platform who play it. It’s like a sample. Somebody can’t take your original voice and manipulate it without having to pay…I think AI is demonic [and] I think AI is going to get a backlash from organic people," he said.

In an open letter issued by the Artist Rights Alliance, these music industry heavyweights have condemned what they term as an "assault on human creativity" through the irresponsible implementation of AI technology.

The letter directly addresses tech companies, digital service providers, and AI developers, urging them to halt any practices that infringe upon the rights of human artists. It emphasizes the potential of AI to enhance creativity when used responsibly but condemns its misuse to undermine and devalue the contributions of human creators.

The signatories express concern over the use of AI models trained on unlicensed music, which they argue leads to the creation of vast amounts of AI-generated content that dilutes royalty pools and threatens the livelihoods of working musicians. They highlight the detrimental impact on artists who are already struggling to sustain themselves in the streaming era, stating that the proliferation of AI-generated music adds further challenges to their livelihoods.

Jen Jacobsen, executive director of the Artist Rights Alliance, emphasizes the ethical implications of using generative AI to replace human artists, warning that such practices devalue the entire music ecosystem and harm both artists and fans.

This call for responsible AI practices in the music industry echoes similar sentiments expressed by various stakeholders over the past year. Concerns about the potential misuse of AI technology have prompted Congressional hearings and legislative initiatives in states like Tennessee aimed at protecting creators and intellectual property rights.

Major players in the music industry, including Universal Music Group and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), have also taken steps to address the issue. Universal Music Group has established a task force to tackle AI-related challenges, while the RIAA and others stress the importance of safeguarding intellectual property from unlicensed AI overreach.

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