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Billie Eilish and Nicki Minaj call for action to stop 'predatory' music AI

Billie Eilish and Nicki Minaj call for action to stop 'predatory' music AI

They are among the more than 200 artists who have signed an open letter.

A huge list of musicians and artists have come together to sign an open letter pushing back against the perceived rise in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the music industry, calling the technology and its implementation "predatory".

The list of signees includes massive names like Billie Eilish and Nicki Minaj, alongside some older and quirkier names - such as British pop star Engelbert Humperdinck.

That already goes to show that it's an issue that is crossing generations and concerning both younger and older artists as they go about trying to protect their careers and livelihoods.

Billie Eilish is among the musicians who've signed the letter.
Doug Peters/PA Wire/PA Images

The Artist Rights Alliance (ARA), who organised the campaign, released the letter which said: "Make no mistake: we believe that, when used responsibly, AI has enormous potential to advance human creativity and in a manner that enables the development and growth of new and exciting experiences for music fans everywhere."

If that sounds like a pretty kind view of AI, it's tempered immediately: "Unfortunately, some platforms and developers are employing AI to sabotage creativity and undermine artists, songwriters, musicians and rightsholders."

Concerns abound over the use of AI to clone people's voices and edit tracks without needing input from performing artists at all, and all of this will see things progress to a place where fewer people are employed and pay is degraded.

As the letter states: "We call on all digital music platforms and music-based services to pledge that they will not develop or deploy AI music-generation technology, content, or tools that undermine or replace the human artistry of songwriters and artists or deny us fair compensation for our work."

It's a campaign that mirrors the concerns that partly fuelled the lengthy writers' and actors' strikes in the US last year, with debates raging over whether it was ethical to use AI to edit or review scripts, or to speed up the production schedules of movies and shows.

Camila Cabello has also signed the letter.
PA news agency

Whether it works or not will be hard to perceive - in the absence of explicit pledges from music labels and streamers, its success won't necessarily be public knowledge.

US rock band Imagine Dragons, Cuban-born singer Camila Cabello, American singers Jon Batiste and Sheryl Crow, British singers Calum Scott, Elvis Costello, Jess Glynne, Jamie Cullum and Brits Rising Star winners The Last Dinner Party along with the estate of actor and musician Frank Sinatra also signed the letter.

The use of AI has been on the rise in music, and Warner Music Central Europe offered its first record deal to a digital character, Noonoouri, which was based on a real person’s voice, in September 2023. The artists who appear in its music will receive royalties and publishing splits just like any traditional song, it is believed.

Featured Image Credit: WWD / Contributor / Rodin Eckenroth / Stringer / Getty