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AI stealing the show? Top artists demand action

Billie Eilish

Over 200 musicians, including superstars like Billie Eilish, Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry, have signed an open letter urging action against the “predatory” use of artificial intelligence in music. The letter, organized by the Artist Rights Alliance, warns that irresponsible AI development could “sabotage creativity” and “destroy the music ecosystem.”

The artists raise concerns about AI tools that mimic artists’ voices and styles, potentially devaluing human artistry and reducing royalties. “We must protect against the predatory use of AI to steal professional artists’ voices and likenesses,” the letter states. The list of undersigned artists features the Bob Marley estate, Chappell Roan, Elvis Costello, Fleet, Imagine Dragons, Jon Bon Jovi, the Jonas Brothers, Kacey Musgraves, Mac DeMarco, Miranda Lambert, Mumford & Sons, Noah Kahan, Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow and Zayn Malik, among others.

At the heart of their concerns is the way AI models are trained—often without permission—on vast datasets comprising songs, artworks, and literary works. This “assault on human creativity,” they argue, could make it harder for working musicians to make a living, especially considering the challenges of the streaming era. Such advancements not only threaten to create convincing deepfakes of existing artists but also raise questions about the ownership and compensation for AI-generated content that closely mimics human-generated art.

The artists, however, acknowledge AI’s potential for positive impact but emphasize the need for responsible development. “Make no mistake: we believe that, when used responsibly, AI has enormous potential to advance human creativity and in a manner that enables the development and growth of new and exciting experiences for music fans everywhere…. Unfortunately, some platforms and developers are employing AI to sabotage creativity and undermine artists, songwriters, musicians and rightsholders,” the letter noted.

The signatories also call on tech companies and music platforms to commit to protecting artist rights and ensure AI complements, rather than replaces, human creativity. “We call on all digital music platforms and music-based services to pledge that they will not develop or deploy AI music-generation technology, content, or tools that undermine or replace the human artistry of songwriters and artists or deny us fair compensation for our work,” it added.

Meanwhile, this collective action by musicians reflects a growing sentiment across creative industries, where there is a rising alarm over AI’s potential to impersonate human creativity with startling accuracy. The letter echoes similar concerns raised by authors earlier this year, who also demanded greater accountability from AI developers and tech companies in the use of copyrighted material to train generative AI models.

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