TikTok And Universal Music Group Clashes Over AI-Generated Music

By Thea Felicity

Feb 26, 2024 12:04 PM EST

(Photo : Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
An employee looks at his mobile phone as he walks past the logo of the video-focused social networking service TikTok, at the TikTok UK offices, in London, on February 9, 2022. - With a billion users, TikTok has rapidly become one of the most important players in the music industry, and now has its sights set on revolutionising the way artists are discovered and get paid.

The music industry is grappling with the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence (AI), particularly evident in the recent feud between major record labels and platforms like TikTok, according to Yahoo.

Earlier this year, Universal Music Group (UMG) made waves by withdrawing its songs from TikTok due to concerns about artists' protection from AI-generated content, sparking a broader debate about the role of AI in music creation and distribution.

Lucian Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group, expressed worries that TikTok's acceptance of AI-generated recordings could dilute royalties for human artists, prompting a rift among industry players. 

While Universal took a firm stance, competitors like Warner Music (WMG) and Sony (SONY) have adopted a wait-and-see approach, navigating their licensing deals with TikTok cautiously.

The escalating tensions reflect broader anxieties within the music community about the unauthorized use of artists' voices and likenesses to produce AI-generated content. Concerns raised by artists like Lainey Wilson underscore the urgent need for legislative protection, prompting lawmakers to introduce bills like the No AI FRAUD Act to safeguard artists' rights.

Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of The Recording Academy, emphasized the necessity of ethical AI development while acknowledging its creative potential. Meanwhile, Malik Yusef, a music producer, argued for stronger copyright protections to ensure artists retain control over AI-generated replicas of their work.

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AI in the Music Industry

When it comes to the emergence of AI in the music industry, not all share the same sentiment as UMG. Some industry insiders, like producer Printz Board, see AI as a complementary tool rather than a threat, emphasizing the endless well of creativity inherent in human artistry.

A musical director, Rance Dopson underscores the importance of striking a balance between technological innovation and human creativity, advocating for a model where artists remain integral to the creative process.

Ultimately, the AI feud only means the music industry will have to catch up eventually, where innovation and tradition intersect, like in the case of TikTok and UMG. This, in turn, could pose both challenges and opportunities for artists, labels, and platforms alike.

READ MORE: Grimes Launches an AI Toy Named 'Grok' But It's Not Related to Elon Musk's New Chatbot

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