Spotify Founder Does Not Intend to Ban AI-Generated Music
The past year has seen a significant increase in the amount of music generated by artificial intelligence, as well as a spike in interest in AI-generated material. And despite a popular AI-generated collab between pop artists Drake and The Weeknd being removed from Spotify earlier this year, Spotify's founder Daniel Ek stated in a new interview with the BBC that he has no intent to completely ban AI-generated content on his music platform.
Ek was speaking with The BBC when he acknowledged that adding artificial intelligence into the equation where music is concerned will provide a new challenge for streaming services. But, he also added that there are some valid uses that make it worthwhile to music listeners.
In breaking down his thoughts on artificial intelligence, Ek made it clear that he didn't think that AI should be used to impersonate human artists without their consent, which is what happened in the case of Drake and The Weeknd song.
He explains that he sees three "buckets" of AI usage. They are: tools such as auto-tune that are used to improve music, which he feels is an acceptable usage; tools used to mimic other artists, which would not be acceptable; and what he sees as a more contentious middle ground where music created by AI was clearly influenced by an existing artist but did not directly impersonate them.
"It is going to be tricky," admitted Ek.
At present, AI is not banned in all forms on Spotify, but they do not allow their content to be used to train in machine learning or an artificial intelligence model.
Back in April, media mogul Adam Faze pointed out in a Twitter thread how he had come across the same song repeatedly on Spotify radio, noting that each time it was listed under a different song title and artist name, with completely different writing credits as well. He then placed all 49 versions that he found in a solitary playlist. That brought up the question as to whether Spotify was giving preference to AI-generated music.
By May, the Financial Times reported that thousands of tracks had been removed from Spotify after a discovery that bots were being used to artificially inflate their streaming figures.
One of the major concerns for Spotify will be determining the source of the music, with Ek commenting, "You can imagine someone uploading a song, claiming to be Madonna, even if they're not. We've seen pretty much everything in the history of Spotify at this point with people trying to game our system. We have a very large team that is working on exactly these types of issues."