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Marissa Cetin
1 May 2024, 15:49

AI use in music must be regulated, parliamentary group tells government

The UK cross-party report comes as FKA twigs spoke to a US Senate subcommittee on intellectual property about her own AI deepfake tools and the importance of artist agency

AI use in music must be regulated, parliamentary group tells government

A specialised cross-party parliamentary group is urging the UK government to progress stalled plans to implement artificial intelligence regulations and artist protections. 

In a newly published report on music and AI, the influential All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Music found widespread support — 80% or more of respondents — for legislation to be pushed forward, requiring disclosure of the use of AI in music, artists' consent for their work to be used in AI training programmes, and laws protecting artists' likeness and work from being copied by AI in. 77% of respondents agreed that AI-generated music that doesn't credit the original creator "amounts to theft". 

APPG on Music proposed the government escalate the derailed multi-industry AI code of conduct into a codified UK AI Act. The law would include points like clear labelling of AI-generated works, a "specific personality right" to protect artists from deepfakes and other misuse of their work and likeness, and the government formation of an pro-creative industries international AI taskforce. 

"Amidst the excitement of technological progress, we must never forget the essence of music and the people who make it", AAPG on Music chair and senior Labour MP Kevin Brennan wrote in a PoliticsHome op-ed. "By leveraging the collective strength of policymakers, industry leaders, and innovators we can ensure that AI serves as a catalyst for creativity and progress in the music ecosystem, rather than an inhibitor of growth and a destroyer of creators’ livelihoods."

The UK cross-party campaign comes in the same week as FKA twigs spoke to the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property about the importance of artists' control over their use in AI earlier this week. She shared she's been using AI to develop a deepfake of herself to interact with fans and media in multiple languages, BBC News reports

"These and similar technologies are highly valuable tools. This, however, is all under my control and I can grant or refuse consent in a way that is meaningful", FKA twigs said. "What is not acceptable is when my art and my identity can simply be taken by a third party and exploited falsely for their own gain without my consent due to the absence of appropriate legislative control."

FKA twigs shared her experience of finding her musical likeness used in AI-generated works online that she did not consent to. "There are songs online — collaborations with myself and other artists — that I didn't make", she wrote in pre-appearance testimony. "It makes me feel vulnerable because, first of all, as an artist, the thing that I love about what I do is that I'm very precise. I take my time with things and I'm very proud of my work. So the fact that somebody could take my voice, change lyrics, change messaging, maybe work with an artist that I didn't want to work with, or maybe work with an artist that I wanted to work with and now the surprise is ruined — it really leaves me very raw and very vulnerable."

In April, the Artists' Rights Alliance organised more than 200 artists, including major mainstream names like Billie Eilish, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry, to sign an open letter calling for a stop to the "predatory" use of AI-generated music. In contrast, Steve Aoki told Billboard that he has "no issues" with AI-produced music: "You just have to ride the wave with it and just start building safeguards as we go". 

A November 2023 Pirate Studios survey found that more than half of artists would not disclose if they were using AI in their production process. That same month, research from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said most music fans think the use of AI in music production should be restricted

Revisit Declan McGlynn's 2021 feature on how artificial intelligence was already shaping music production, as part of his AI Futures series. 

Read the complete 2024 APPG music and AI report here.

Watch a clip of FKA twigs speaking to the US Senate Judiciary subcommittee Tuesday.