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Exploring The Music Industry’s Fear of AI: Is It The Next Big Threat?

This industry insider, possessing extensive knowledge of music business intricacies, legal frameworks, and human dynamics, offered a somewhat controversial view on generative AI. They dismissed the widespread concerns, likening the AI’s trajectory to the phenomenon of ringtones from the mid-2000s. 

Ringtones, although a profitable venture — with hits like Lil Wayne’s ‘Lollipop’ setting sales records — eventually became more of an annoyance than a novelty. The comparison was drawn to potential AI-generated mashups or novelty tracks featuring iconic voices, questioning their longevity and appeal beyond initial curiosity.

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Image Courtesy: Bloomberg

Of course, ethical considerations are paramount. Unauthorised replication of voices or music is not condoned, except in parody, and legal actions have been taken to protect copyrighted material from AI misuse. For instance, Universal Music successfully challenged an AI-generated song for using copyrighted material without proper authorization. Past legal battles, like those involving Tom Waits and Bette Midler, highlight the industry’s stance against unauthorised imitation.

The conversation navigated the distinction between virtual impersonation and genuine artistic expression. While AI can simulate voices and styles, it lacks the depth and authenticity of human creativity. Moreover, concerns about AI’s potential misuse extend beyond music to more pressing ethical dilemmas like deep fakes and misinformation.

Image Courtesy: Variety

Ultimately, the fate of AI in music rests on legal frameworks, artistic integrity, and societal norms. With proper safeguards and regulations, AI can coexist with human creativity without overshadowing or replacing it.

-Sushmita Sarkar

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