Universal Music Group

Major labels are demanding that AI music firms be properly licensed if they are training their models on commercial music.

They’re right. But that means labels need to be willing to license, with workable deals to offer. So it was interesting to hear UMG boss Sir Lucian Grainge asked about that in the company’s earnings call yesterday.

“We are open to, in terms of licensing, any business solution. Obviously we have to respect our artists and the integrity of their work,” said Grainge.

“My philosophy for the company has always been we should be, and can be, the hostess with the mostess. We’re open for business with businesses which are legitimate, which are supportive, and [with] which we can create a partnership for growth.”

UMG’s digital chief Michael Nash also addressed generative AI during the call, saying that UMG is confident that unlicensed training violates existing copyright laws around the world.

“Most key markets’ copyright laws are fit for purpose right now, and we don’t see a requirement for new legislation per se. But I think it’s very important that governments around the world interpret and enforce the existing laws correctly and actively.”

As for the earnings, UMG’s Q1 revenues grew by 11.5% year-on-year to €2.45bn ($2.71bn at current exchange rates). That included 11.7% growth for its recorded music business (to €1.92bn) and 13.3% growth for publishing (to €425m).

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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