Written By: Ayo Adebajo

Use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is accelerating within society and across the media and entertainment space. Music is a key area within the latter in which this is evident. This article provides an overview of how AI music generators are affecting the music industry and the potential consequences under UK copyright law.

AI Music Generators

There is increasing interest and investment worldwide in AI music generation. Companies such as AudioShake, OpenAI, Splice, Stability AI, Dessa and BandLab have made significant developments in this space. Bytedance (TikTok’s parent company) acquired Jukedeck in 2019, a UK-based AI music start-up, Shutterstock acquired AI-driven music platform Amper Music in 2020 and HYBE recently acquired Supertone.

Utilising Lingyin Engine technology, Tencent Music in China has reportedly released over 1,000 songs with human-mimicking AI vocals, some synthetically recreating those of deceased artists. One track, titled “today”, is claimed to have surpassed 100 million streams!

In 2020, Jay-Z filed DMCA takedown notices against anonymous YouTuber, Vocal Synthesis, who created deepfakes of Jay-Z reciting William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ and a Billy Joel song. More recently, AI deepfake technology was used to create a posthumous track by Depzman, a grime artist from Birmingham who tragically passed away in 2013, called “Life Cut Short. Elsewhere, last year GRM Daily reported FN Meka, a controversial AI-powered rapper that amassed over ten million followers on TikTok, as the first AI artist to be signed by a major record label (Capitol Records, distributed under Universal Music Group) before being dropped due to social backlash on stereotyping. This begs the question, how far are we from the likes of Stormzy, Adele, Dave or Ed Sheeran battling with AI artists for chart-topping singles?