YouTube is reportedly developing an artificial intelligence (AI) powered tool that would allow creators to record audio using the voices of famous musicians. The video-sharing platform has been in talks with music companies to obtain the rights to songs that could be used to train this tool. However, these discussions are confidential, and major record labels have not yet agreed to any deal.
YouTube’s AI Initiatives
Last month, YouTube introduced a new suite of tools that leverage AI. These include a tool for creators to create backgrounds for their videos and another that allows for automatic dubbing into other languages. The company had intended to launch the music tool at the same time but was unable to secure the necessary rights.
Legal Challenges and Industry Relations
The legal implications of AI and creative works, particularly those involving people’s names, images, and likenesses, are still being determined. This has already led to litigation. YouTube will need to navigate a path to the legal use of this new technology. Despite past tensions with the music industry, relations have improved in recent years as YouTube has increased its royalty payments.
Google’s Investment in AI
YouTube is owned by Google, a tech giant that has been developing AI products for years. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is competing with several companies, including Microsoft, to lead in what many consider the next great frontier in technology. This growing investment in AI has pushed YouTube to develop innovative solutions and tools.
The Music Industry’s View on AI
The music industry sees AI as both a promising new technology and a significant threat. The rise of piracy and user-generated content severely impacted the industry before the advent of paid streaming services like Spotify Technology. This has made music companies cautious about new technology.
Potential for Creative Expression
Artists recognize that these models could open new avenues for creative expression. Musicians and record labels want to control companies’ ability to use their copyrighted works to train models without permission or compensation. Interest in AI increased after a song that sounded like Drake — but wasn’t recorded by Drake — went viral online.
YouTube’s Role in Navigating AI
YouTube is positioning itself as a partner to help the industry navigate this new technology. Music companies have been receptive and have agreed to work with YouTube on a project generating ideas around AI and music.