mark mulligan

What do Midia Research MD Mark Mulligan and the late, former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have in common? They both like to muse on known unknowns and unknown unknowns.

Rumsfeld’s comments have gone into the history books, and now Mulligan has adapted them to discuss some of the challenges that new technologies including short video and AI are creating for the music industry.

In a blog post he outlined two in particular, starting with temporary rights, inspired by the prevalence of ephemeral content like ‘stories’ on social media.

“It is reasonable to assume that much of the music content consumers will create in the future will also only be temporary, but revenue will still likely be generated against them,” he wrote.

“So, unless a rights framework exists, the creators (consumers in this context) would not be renumerated for their creation.”

The second unknown unknown for music rights are generative.

“Most of the rights conversation around generative AI has focused on the works that AI learns from being protected and remunerated. But that is only the input. There is also the output,” he wrote.

“Just like De La Soul, that spent years clearing samples to get onto streaming, still own the rights to their songs, the creators (and consumer creators) that use AI to generate music will have created a work that should have a right of its own. Years spent clearing source rights will not work. So, the generative AI right will likely need to incorporate some form of derivative rights to ensure money flows to the rightsholders.”

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