Billie Eilish, Elvis Costello, Jon Bon Jovi, and More Artists Rip Into ‘Predatory’ and ‘Catastrophic’ Use of AI in the Music Industry: ‘Assault on Human Creativity’

Billie Eilish, Elvis Costello, Jon Bon Jovi, and More Artists Rip Into ‘Predatory’ and ‘Catastrophic’ Use of AI in the Music Industry: ‘Assault on Human Creativity’

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Powerful voices are speaking up about the potential danger of advancing AI, and now a prominent group of musicians is joining the chorus in an open letter Monday to call attention to the potential harm the technology can have on the music industry.

In a letter written by the Artist Rights Alliance and posted to Medium on Monday, over 200 musicians and songwriters including Jon Bon Jovi, Darius Rucker, and Elvis Costello called for music platforms and streaming services as well as tech companies to initiate a complete cease of AI to “infringe upon and devalue the human artists.”

While the letter admits that AI has the potential to “advance human creativity,” it underscores that it only does so when used responsibly, and notes that some platforms and tech developers are using it to “sabotage and undermine artists, songwriters, musicians, and rights holders.”

Other notable names on the list of signees include Finneas and Billie Eilish, Katy Perry, the estate of Bob Marley, and Pearl Jam.

If left unregulated, the artists said, AI has the potential to “degrade the value” of the work that musicians and songwriters are producing, while simultaneously not properly financially compensating them for it.

“Some of the biggest and most powerful companies are, without permission, using our work to train AI models. These efforts are direly aimed at replacing the work of human artists with massive quantities of AI-created “sounds” and “images” that substantially dilute the royalty pools that are paid out to artists,” the letter reads. “For many working musicians, artists, and songwriters who are just trying to make ends meet, this would be catastrophic.”

The letter ended with the artists calling the improper use of AI an “assault on human creativity” and the stealing of artists’ work as “predatory.”

The Artists Rights Alliance’s letter comes at a contentious time for AI in the entertainment industry.

On Wednesday, a settlement agreement was reached between the estate of late comedian George Carlin and video company Dudsey, which created an AI-generated one-hour-long comedy special using the comedian’s voice and likeness to generate “new” material into an audio-only podcast episode.

“I understand and share the desire for more George Carlin. I, too, want more time with my father,” Carlin’s daughter, Kelly Carlin, wrote in a statement in January upon the lawsuit filing. “But it is ridiculous to proclaim he has been ‘resurrected’ with AI.”

Upon this week’s settlement, Dudsey has agreed to remove the video of the “podcast” and agreed to never repost it anywhere else again, as well as to never use Carlin’s image, voice, or likeness without permission from his estate again.

Carlin died in 2008 of a heart attack.

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