YouTube teams up with musical artists and reveals AI principles

21 Aug 2023

YouTube CEO Neal Mohan speaking at Collision 2017 in New Orleans. Image: Stephen McCarthy/Collision/Sportsfile (CC BY 2.0)

To kick off the so-called Music AI incubator, YouTube will work with the likes of Anitta, Yo Gotti and the estate of Frank Sinatra.

YouTube has revealed its first-ever set of principles around the use of AI in the music industry to balance innovation in the space and fairness towards musical artists.

In a blogpost, CEO Neal Mohan shared three principles that will aim to “enhance creative expression while also protecting artists on the platform”.

The principles will broadly see YouTube “embrace AI responsibly” together with its music partners, include appropriate protections for artists who choose to participate and build “industry-leading” safety organisation and content policies.

The Alphabet-owned company said there have been more than 1.7bn views of YouTube videos related to generative AI tools in 2023 alone.

“As generative AI unlocks ambitious new forms of creativity, YouTube and our partners across the music industry agree to build on our long collaborative history and responsibly embrace this rapidly advancing field,” wrote Mohan, who took over as CEO in February.

“Our goal is to partner with the music industry to empower creativity in a way that enhances our joint pursuit of responsible innovation.”

To that end, YouTube is teaming up with Universal Music Group to launch something it calls the Music AI incubator. The partnership will include songwriter and producer Anitta, OneRepublic member Ryan Tedder and the estate of Frank Sinatra.

Others artists associated with the group include Björn Ulvaeus, d4vd, Don Was, Louis Bell, Max Richter, Rosanne Cash and Yo Gotti.

Universal Music Group chair and CEO Lucian Grainge said that the approach to generative AI needs to be artist-centric and that partnering with YouTube would “best position” the music industry for success.

“Our challenge and opportunity as an industry is to establish effective tools, incentives and rewards – as well as rules of the road – that enable us to limit AI’s potential downside while promoting its promising upside. If we strike the right balance, I believe AI will amplify human imagination and enrich musical creativity in extraordinary new ways,” he wrote.

“AI will never replace human creativity because it will always lack the essential spark that drives the most talented artists to do their best work, which is intention. From Mozart to The Beatles to Taylor Swift, genius is never random.”

News of the new principles and collaboration comes just days after YouTube Music introduced a new TikTok-style personalised music discovery feature that shows viewers samples of new music. Called Samples, the tab started rolling out globally on 15 August.

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YouTube CEO Neal Mohan speaking at Collision 2017 in New Orleans. Image: Stephen McCarthy/Collision/Sportsfile via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic