A study published by charity Youth Music earlier this year suggested that young musicians were “embracing” creative AI technologies in and around their music-making.
Now there’s some more data on attitudes of emerging musicians towards these technologies, courtesy of recording and rehearsal studios network Pirate.
It canvassed more than 1,000 artists across the UK, US and Germany for their thoughts on AI. It found that 25% of them have already experimented with AI in music production, while of those who hadn’t, 46% said they were willing to do so in the future.
There’s a ‘but’ coming. Only 48% of artists surveyed said they would tell listeners if they’d used AI in their creation process. Why? Another question offered an obvious answer: 53% said they were concerned about how their audience would respond to music created with AI assistance.
On one level, this isn’t a big deal. Most artists don’t fret about whether to tell fans exactly what instruments, techniques and technologies they have used in their work, so why should AI bring an extra responsibility for disclosure?
There’s also the risk that saying a song was AI-assisted could overplay the role of this technology. An AI tool may have just been used for a tiny drum part, but an ‘AI-assisted’ label could make fans assume it composed the song or generated the bulk of the music.
“It’s useful to look back at the introduction of tools like autotune which faced criticism in their early days, but eventually found their place in the music industry,” was Pirate CEO David Borrie’s take on the concerns. “AI’s journey toward becoming a standard tool in music creation may follow a similar path, as artists and audiences alike adapt to this innovation.”
One positive finding from the survey is that many artists are taking an active approach to the emergence of AI technologies. 55% said they are actively acquiring new skills in response to advancements in this area, including 28% specifically learning AI-related skills.
In separate news, the chair of the UK’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Dame Caroline Dinenage, has joined the calls for the British government to include creators’ and copyright owners’ concerns in the talks at its AI Safety Summit this week.
“After past missteps, the Government must seize the chance to show that it is serious about developing a copyright and regulatory regime with proper protections from AI in order to regain the trust of the arts and cultural sector,” she said.
Her committee published a report in August offering its thoughts on AI’s implications for the creative industries, and what the government should do about them. Meanwhile, this week music industry body UK Music also called on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to include creators and copyright in the event’s agenda.
Music Ally expressed some doubt then, and that’s only been increased by the publication of the confirmed attendees of the two-day summit. Academia, governments and AI companies are all well represented. The creative industries, including music? Very much less so. Even if it’s not the full attendee list, the optics are slightly concerning.
The music industry has some very clear policy goals around how it would like to see generative AI technologies regulated. But it needs to be in the room with the policymakers and tech companies when regulation is being discussed, rather than shouting in from the outside.