Billie Eilish, Katy Perry and Stevie Wonder warn of the risks of artificial intelligence for the music industry

Maxence Glineur

April 3, 2024 at 9:09 a.m.


Is Billie Eilish threatened by artificial intelligence?  © Ben Houdijk / Shutterstock

Is Billie Eilish threatened by artificial intelligence? © Ben Houdijk / Shutterstock

200 big names in music unite to oppose AI. In an open letter, they denounce a “ predatory use » which could weaken the industry.

Generative artificial intelligence continues to impress us. Whether it is writing texts, creating 2D images, or even producing video clips, they prove to be competent in areas that were thought to be reserved for humans. Enough in any case for many professions to worry about their future.

Demonstrations, strikes and warnings are multiplying, and it is the turn of singers and musicians to speak out against a part of the tech sector which continues to make headlines.

An existential threat

What if Jacques Brel’s perfect song was the one you generated yourself? Just a few years ago, this sentence would have seemed completely far-fetched. But, today, it is more credible than ever, and will be even more so in the months and weeks to come. Between Adobe’s ability to easily generate a musical composition from existing titles, and OpenAI’s ability to copy a voice in a few seconds, one might wonder if it isn’t time to (finally?) put Elton John in the closet.

It is therefore logical that musical artists feel very concerned by these technologies. In an open letter, 200 of them addressed generative AI publishers directly and expressed their fears about what they consider to be “ an attack on human creativity “. Among the signatories are big names like Billie Eilish, Jon Bon Jovi, Norah Jones, and even the rights holders of Bob Marley or Frank Sinatra.

When used irresponsibly, AI poses enormous threats to our ability to protect our privacy, identities, music and livelihoods », they write. “ Some of the biggest and most powerful companies are using our work to train AI models without permission “. The letter stresses that an ever-increasing flood of music-generated tracks will gradually diminish artists’ income, and warns of a future deemed ” catastrophic “.

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Working together with OpenAI and company

The open letter is not intended to mobilize lawmakers. Instead, she calls on companies like OpenAI to collaborate with industry players. to make it a responsible market », Explains Jen Jacobsen, director of the Artist Rights Alliance, the organization behind the approach. It is therefore not a question of crying wolf, and the signatories even consider that AI can be a first-rate tool “ to advance human creativity “. Provided that it is used in a ” responsible “.

It remains to be seen whether this will resonate with industry giants. Some majors, led by Universal, are already affected by the massive arrival of AI-generated tracks on streaming platforms. Moreover, part of its disagreement with TikTok is based on this question, the Chinese social network broadcasting numerous pieces inspired by existing titles, and exempt from the royalties which should normally benefit the original artists.

Last year, American actors and actresses went on strike to fight the use of their images by AIs. While some are totally opposed to such a practice, others are less binary, as long as it is possible to give consent and obtain the royalties that go with it. However, questioned by Forbes A few years ago, Midjourney founder David Holz said that “ there’s really no way to get a hundred million images and know where they came from “. The paradigm being no different for other art forms, one wonders if AI publishers will be able to respond favorably to artists’ requests… or if they really want to.

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Source : Fortune

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