Stable Audio

Ed Newton-Rex is one of the veterans of the modern AI-music industry. The former CEO of one of its early startups, Jukedeck, recently became VP of audio at generative-AI firm Stability AI.

Music Ally interviewed him in September when the company launched its Stable Audio text-to-music AI, which had been trained on music and metadata from production-music company AudioSparx. The latter’s musicians shared in the revenues, and could opt out if they wanted to.

It seemed a responsible approach. But since then Stability AI joined other AI firms in telling the US Copyright Office that training AI models should be considered fair use, and thus not require licensing deals. Now it has lost Newton-Rex as a result of that stance.

“I’ve resigned from my role leading the Audio team at Stability AI, because I don’t agree with the company’s opinion,” he wrote in a guest column for MBW, while acknowledging that “there are lots of people at Stability who are deeply thoughtful about these issues”.

Newton-Rex had some brisk words for his former company – and its peers – on their desire to see AI training considered fair use.

“Today’s generative AI models can clearly be used to create works that compete with the copyrighted works they are trained on. So I don’t see how using copyrighted works to train generative AI models of this nature can be considered fair use,” he wrote, while offering an additional moral reservation.

“Companies worth billions of dollars are, without permission, training generative AI models on creators’ works, which are then being used to create new content that in many cases can compete with the original works. I don’t see how this can be acceptable in a society that has set up the economics of the creative arts such that creators rely on copyright.”

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