Artificial Intelligence (AI)-created music comes in almost endless forms, from light songwriting aids to full-on deep fake Drake-style tracks.
At a time when artificial intelligence is the hottest topic in music, creators are wondering what level of AI support is acceptable and which companies they trust with their music will refuse to distribute.
As musicians try to navigate the murky waters of AI, what guidance have their distributors provided? We asked four leaders in indie and DIY music distribution, and with the exception of one, the answer was “not much.”
Representatives from Tunecore, CD Baby, DistroKid and Symphonic responded when we asked if they had an AI policy and what measures they were taking to enforce it. We also checked to see if any of these companies posted AI policies online.
“We have implemented a number of quality controls in our business and aim not to distribute content that is 100% AI-generated, whether through Believe or TuneCore,” Believe co-founder and CEO Denis Ladegailleri told analysts on a first-quarter earnings call recently.
But we couldn’t find any mention of AI on Tunecore.com, and the company wouldn’t comment for this story.
CD Baby would not comment either, but its Customer Help Center offered the following: “You will not be able to distribute AI-generated content. Even if the AI generator you use allows commercial use of what you’ve made, there’s no way to guarantee unique sounds or rights compliance.
Co-Founder of DistroKid Phil Kaplan commented, “DistroKid’s music policy is to accommodate the differing policies and requirements of each streaming service,” but we couldn’t find any guidelines for musicians using the service posted online.
Symphonic CEO only Jorge Brea offered a detailed response that included his thoughts as a creator on AI and Symphonic’s politics and efforts to control it.
“If we all want to stop this problem, then we all need to talk openly about tools and/or parameters that exist…”
We’ve published it here in full and added bold to highlight specific passages:
“First, as a music producer, I believe in human creativity and art created by an individual. Furthermore, I believe that AI is a tool, much like an instrument or synthesizer, for the music production process.
Sample websites and sample packs, for example, have been around for a long time, and many distributors produce music using samples that are royalty-free and clean. Although this is not created using AI, a person takes something that someone else has made to create a production.
Like lbecause the AI is not used with malicious intent, such as impersonating an artist and/or being used to generate content that directly infringes someone’s work, and/or finally, being created using a copyrighted work, then I believe that new methods of music production are useful.
I have concerns about poorly produced music being uploaded to streaming sites and the overall over-saturation that can occur, which will affect royalty payments. To prevent this, we need to see industry-wide collaboration.
Symphonic partners with companies that allow us to scan audio before we deliver it in an effort to see what matches and prevent the spread of infringing content, but this is an evolving technology and if we all want to stop this problem then we all need to talk openly about tools and/or parameters that exist to work together to Solve the task.
Prights holders to protect and what they earn should not be wholly owned.
As always, we will continue to collaborate with our partners, DSPs, customers and others to find technologies and processes that will help control bad actors, and I personally do not believe that anyone has a fully proof-of-concept system (yet ), which can detect that a song is 100% AI versus being partially or fully human-created. II would like to know about it, use it and apply it, but I personally feel it’s easy to say that the music might be blocked, but; as everyone knows, fraudsters and scammers will find creative ways to circumvent the system, especially with AI.“
Bruce Haughton is the founder and editor of Hypebot, Senior Advisor at Bandsintown, President of Skyline Artists Agency, and Professor at Berklee College Of Music.