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The Sound of Tomorrow: Google & Universal Music Group's AI Ambitions


Today's Focus: Google and Universal Music's AI Play

Hosts: QuHarrison Terry and Mike O'Day

Links Mentioned in The Video:

Q's Takes:

The Intersection of Tech and Music: Once disrupted by the digital revolution, the music industry faces another transformative force: artificial intelligence. Google and Universal Music's early-stage discussions about licensing artists' melodies and voices for AI-generated songs underscore the industry's attempt to navigate this new frontier.

1. The AI Value Chain in Music:

  • Generative AI: The rise of AI, particularly deepfake songs, presents a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it offers the potential for innovative content creation; on the other, it threatens artists' intellectual property.
  • Monetization Models: The discussions between Google and Universal Music hint at a new monetization model where fans could create AI-generated tracks, compensating copyright owners.

2. Historical Parallels:

  • The music industry's current AI conundrum mirrors its past struggles with YouTube over copyright infringement. The eventual resolution, earning the industry about $2bn annually from user-generated content, suggests potential pathways for the AI challenge.

3. The Artist's Dilemma:

  • Protecting the Brand: For artists, their voice is not just a tool of the trade but a part of their brand identity. Unauthorized AI reproductions can dilute this brand.
  • Embracing the Future: Yet, some artists like Grimes see the potential, embracing the technology and even offering shared royalties.

4. The Big Tech Play:

  • Google's involvement is not just about music. It's a strategic move to compete in AI, especially against rivals like Microsoft, which has made significant investments in AI with OpenAI.

Takeaway: As AI continues to reshape industries, the music sector's response will be a case study in balancing innovation with protection. The outcome of the Google-Universal Music discussions could set a precedent for how industries adapt to the AI era.