|THURSDAY 18 MAY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The copyright questions posed by generative AI technologies were in the spotlight in US Congress yesterday, with music-makers given the opportunity to set out their concerns and priorities before the House Judiciary Committee. Meanwhile, the former General Counsel of the US Copyright Office was asked to what extent copyright law can even address those concerns... [READ MORE]|
US Congress puts spotlight on copyright questions posed by generative AI
AI tools and technologies that can compose and produce original music have become big talking points of late within the music industry, of course, partly because said tools and technologies are becoming ever more sophisticated, and partly because of the general hype around generative AI caused in no small part by ChatGPT.
While neither the technologies nor the copyright concerns they pose are new, the need to address said concerns feels a lot more urgent. Hence the launch in March of the music industry led Human Artistry Campaign and the eagerness of music-makers to speak at a session of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee On Courts, Intellectual Property And The Internet with the title 'Interoperability Of AI And Copyright Law'.
One key copyright question relates to what licences the makers and users of music-making AI tools need when they train said tools by crunching data connected to existing songs and recordings. Then there is the question of whether music created in that way should enjoy copyright protection.
Beyond straightforward copyright law queries, there has also been a demand for more transparency around what AI tools are being employed in the creation of content and what data sets are being used to train those tools.
And in more recent weeks - with the flurry of AI-created tracks that mimic the voices of pop stars - there has been increased debate over whether or not an artist can protect their voice, over and above any control they may or may not have via copyright when it comes to the training of AI technology with their past musical output.
Among the music-makers speaking in Congress yesterday was Dan Navarro, who is also involved in the aforementioned Human Artistry Campaign.
He ran the politicians through the key asks of that campaign, including that the makers and users of AI tools must get permission whenever they train those tools with existing music, and that lawmakers must not introduce any new copyright exceptions that removes that requirement.
He also stated that "copyright should only protect the unique value of human intellectual creativity. The copyright clause of the Constitution exists to incentivise humans to create – machines don't need incentives".
And, he added, "trustworthiness and transparency are essential to the success of AI and protection of creators. Without transparent AI, we will have no idea whether the inputs AI systems were trained on were licensed, leaving us no way to enforce our rights".
Similar concerns and demands were expressed by composer and producer Ashley Irwin, who is also President of the Society Of Composers And Lyricists.
"Generative AI has been equipped using copyright-protected human-authored works and programmed to mimic those works without consent, compensation or credit", he noted, and not only that, but "copyright information - ie metadata - has been removed during the ingestion process of these models".
To overcome these concerns, the makers and users of generative AI tools must adhere to three fundamental principles, he stated, they being consent, credit and compensation.
"Consent by creators for the use of their works in generative AI media", he explained, "credit, wherever creators' works are used, and compensation, at fair market rates, for the ingestion of any portion of human creators' copyrighted works by AI generative machines and the subsequent output of new derivative works".
Although the corporate interests of the music industry where not asked to speak at yesterday's session, the bosses of the Recording Industry Association Of America and the US National Music Publishers Association - Mitch Glazier and David Israelite - penned on op-ed in Billboard earlier this week that was referenced in Congress.
And it confirmed that, on AI issues, at the moment music-makers and music companies are more or less in agreement.
"Use of copyrighted works to train or develop AI must be subject to free-market licensing and authorisation from all rightsholders", they said. "Creators and copyright owners must retain exclusive control over the ways their work is used. The moral invasion of AI engines that steal the core of a professional performer's identity - the product of a lifetime's hard work and dedication - without permission or pay cannot be tolerated".
"This will require AI developers to ensure copyrighted training inputs are approved and licensed, including those used by pre-trained AIs they employ", they went on.
"It means they need to keep thorough and transparent records of the creative works and likenesses used to train AI systems and how they were exploited. These obligations are nothing new, though - anyone who uses another creator's work or a professional's voice, image or likeness must already ensure they have the necessary rights and maintain the records to prove it".
Committee members also asked lawyer Sy Damle - formerly General Counsel for the US Copyright Office - whether copyright law as it currently stands could address the concerns raised by others speaking at the session. In the main he believes it can, even if that means relying on the always tricky concept of fair use to balance the interests of copyright owners and technology makers.
"I think existing law is well suited to deal with all the questions we've been talking about today," Damle said, according to Law360. "Congress had the wisdom in the 1976 [Copyright] Act and various amendments since then to build a technology-neutral flexible copyright regime, and I think it's proven time and time again that no matter the new technology that comes along, the laws are able to adapt to them".
That said, when it comes to artists protecting their voices, Damle agreed that that goes beyond the remit of copyright. "I think copyright law is too blunt of an instrument to deal with that", he told the committee, "and it may be worth looking at other areas of law outside of copyright". It seems likely that things like trademark and publicity rights are more relevant in that domain.
Following yesterday's hearing, organisers of the Human Artistry Campaign said in a statement: "The more Congress learns about AI, the more members appreciate the moral and legal imperative to respect creators' right to control how their work is used and for strong public policy to ensure professional performers' voices and likenesses aren't cloned and impersonated for commercial gain. We are grateful to all the members of the House Judiciary Committee for digging so deeply and seriously into these vital questions".
Montana governor signs TikTok ban into law
Confirming that he had now formally approved the ban, Governor Greg Gianforte declared on Twitter: "To protect Montanans' personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana".
The new law, passed by lawmakers in Montana last month, is a response to widespread concerns in political circles that the Chinese government can access TikTok user-data via the app's Chinese owner Bytedance.
Those concerns are shared across the political spectrum in many countries, and several governments worldwide have banned their employees from using the app on official devices. Despite TikTok's ongoing insistence that there are no data security issues on its platform.
In terms of more comprehensive restrictions, India outright banned TikTok usage in 2020. Former US President Donald Trump also attempted to instigate a similar ban while he was still in power, but that ran into legal problems in the courts and never went into effect.
The Montana ban is also likely to encounter similar legal obstacles, with TikTok adamant that it violates the free speech rights of US citizens as granted by the American constitution.
A spokesperson said yesterday: "Governor Gianforte has signed a bill that infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok, a platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of people across the state".
It added: "We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana".
It remains to be seen how TikTok's First Amendment arguments will fair in court. However, there are efforts in US Congress to provide current US President Joe Biden with new powers to instigate a TikTok ban if security concerns warrant such a thing, removing some of the legal issues that caused Trump's ban to falter.
Beyond the legal issues, there are also some technical questions about how effectively Apple and Google can restrict access, via their respective app stores, to any one app on a state-by-state basis. And also how the ban will impact on those Montanans who already have TikTok installed on their devices. Or at least, those Montanans who don't know how to use a VPN.
Slowthai's UK live shows pulled following court appearance on rape charges
Real name Tyron Frampton, the rapper appeared via video link at Oxfordshire Magistrates Court on Tuesday, charged with assaulting a woman twice in Oxford in September 2021. He was bailed and order to attend another hearing before Oxford Crown Court next month.
In court, Frampton only spoke to confirm his name, address and date of birth. Following the hearing, he issued a statement via social media, saying: "Regarding the allegations being reported about me, I categorically deny the charges".
"I am innocent and I am confident my name will be cleared", he continued. "Until then I will apply my energy to ensure this is concluded swiftly and justly. I ask that my supporters don't comment about this situation and respect the process and privacy of my family during this time".
By Wednesday afternoon, Slowthai had been quietly dropped from the line-ups of the Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds and Parklife festivals. His own headline shows due to take place in Glasgow, Manchester, London and Birmingham in September were also pulled. Shows in mainland Europe earlier in September remain on sale.
Culture minister outlines plan to boost UK creative industries by promoting creative skills in schools
Lucy Frazer was speaking at the 'Media And Telecoms: 2023 & Beyond' conference organised by Deloitte and Enders Analysis. Among other things she previewed a new Creative Industries Sector Vision that is being developed by the government's Department For Culture, Media & Sport alongside the Creative Industries Council.
After the customary bigging up of the UK's creative and entertainment industries, the minister told the conference: "I have zero doubt that we in government can do more tangible things to support our creatives. But we cannot simply copy and paste the formula for that past success. We face increasing global competition and we cannot afford to be complacent"
"We need to maximise potential", she went on. "So I am committing to growing the creative industries by an extra £50 billion by 2030; creating a million extra jobs - all over the country - by 2030; and delivering a creative careers promise that builds a pipeline of talent into our creative industries".
Which all sounds lovely. And - Frazer added - when it comes to achieving such bold ambitions: "I want to work with you to deliver it".
"Over the next few months we will be identifying how we can go further", she went on, confirming that education has a key role to play. A big priority, she said, would be "growing these sectors by promoting skills from primary school children to those returning to the workforce. Whether that is in music at school or extracurricular activities, and working with the creative sector on maximising the opportunities of bootcamps and apprenticeships".
The creative industries - including the music industry - have felt that for too long now the UK government has tended to prioritise science and maths over creative subjects within the school system, despite creative skills being valuable in numerous careers, within but also well beyond the creative industries.
This makes Frazer's focus on education as part of her Creative Industries Sector Vision particularly interesting. However, whether she'll be able to enthuse her colleagues in the Department For Education with this vision remains to be seen.
Metro Boomin executive produces new Spider-Verse movie soundtrack
Actually, while I may have made it sound like this is something he's going to do, presumably the work is already done, because that soundtrack album is out on 2 Jun. Which is quite soon. If he's yet to start work on it, it's going to be pretty hastily thrown together. But the film is also in cinemas on 2 Jun, so it's going to have to get done. No, I'm sure it's already done. Absolutely certain.
"The concept for the next instalment of Miles [Morales'] story demanded a contemporary and culturally significant musical collaborator", says Spring Aspers, President Of Music at Sony Pictures. "Metro Boomin was clearly the perfect cultural voice to sculpt the musical environment to support this amazing next chapter".
The album will be released through Universal Music's Republic Records. The label's EVP Film & TV, Dana Sano, comments: "Metro Boomin is a true visionary who continues to raise the bar. For the 'Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse' soundtrack, Metro curated and delivered with fierce passion and integrity. Republic is THRILLED and honoured to be re-teaming with the filmmakers and our amazing partners at Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group".
The full list of artists set to appear on the soundtrack album is yet to be revealed. But I'm sure that list exists.
Róisín Murphy announces "joyful" new album
"This record is a collaboration with DJ Koze", she explains. "We worked remotely, in different countries, sending tracks [and] ideas back and forth for several years. I always have to approach a new collaboration with openness and a willingness to learn and never more so than with this".
"The studio in this case was imaginary, in the airspace between Hamburg and London", she goes on. "That meant we were both in a personal, private place when working on the songs. For me that brought out a more intimate approach to the songwriting, I told this album my secrets".
"For Koze it meant total freedom and absolute focus without the distraction of my presence. He took a deep dive into himself and I believe that's why the music is so vibrant and alive. It is just exploding with colour!"
"It's a joyful record", she goes on. "I've never been happier, that is partly down to personal reasons but also in my work I've been very fulfilled. For me the record is about love and sensuality but also it's about music itself and how it's always been there for me".
"There are tinges of darkness, of the abyss, as well as all the joy. There's contemplation of mortality which is meant to serve as reminder to me - and perhaps you the listener - to really live while we can".
On new single 'The Universe', she adds: "The universe at large is playful and terrifying. There is no discernible sense to it. The story that is always being told is on multiple levels, levels we don't see or understand. The experience of being alive is to be continually reminded of how utterly unaware we are of what is really going on all around us".
The album is out on 8 Sep and Murphy will headline Alexandra Palace in London on 17 Feb next year.
BMG has announced that CFO Thomas Coesfeld will move into the CEO role at the company from 1 Jul, six months earlier that originally planned. Current CEO Hartwig Masuch announced in January that he is stepping down, though the original plan was for Coesfeld to take over at the start of 2024. Mathis Wolter will become the firm's new CFO, moving over from sister company RTL Group. BMG's top team will also include Sebastian Hentzschel as Chief Operating Officer, Dominique Casimir as Chief Content Officer, and Nikola Holle-Spiegel as Chief Human Resources Officer.
Chrysalis Records/Blue Raincoat Music has appointed Donna Vergier as VP International Marketing. "After working with the Chrysalis Records team for the past twelve months, consulting on amazing campaigns from Emeli Sandé, Ben Harper and De La Soul, it's my great pleasure to officially join the company full time", she says. "I'm very excited to continue working on extending their global reach on current and future campaigns, building relationships, and focussing on artist development".
Ineffable Music Group's Ineffable Records has appointed Diego Herrera as Director Of Business Development. He joins from Pandora. "I had the opportunity to work with Ineffable on a number of projects and releases during my time at Pandora", he says. "I am THRILLED to now be part of their team. I see this as a continuation of the work I've been doing in elevating various music scenes, including reggae, dancehall and soca music - just now from the label side".
Foo Fighters have released new single 'Under You'. The band's new album 'But Here We Are' is out on 2 Jun, and they have announced a video streaming event featuring performances and behind the scenes footage on 21 May. More info on that here.
Daniel Avery has released new EP 'More Truth', featuring outtakes from his 2022 album 'Ultra Truth'. From it, this is 'Going So Low', featuring Georgia.
Nitin Sawhney will release new album 'Identity' on 13 Oct. Out now is new single 'Darling Boy', featuring Guy Garvey. "I've never heard Guy's voice like this and it's pure gold to hear him create these stunning harmonies", says Sawhney. "It was also wonderful going to India to lay down the interweaving lines. I loved making this track". He is also set to play London's Royal Albert Hall on 20 Oct. Tickets go on sale on 26 May.
Kieran Hebden - aka Four Tet - and guitar virtuoso William Tyler have released a new track together, titled 'Darkness, Darkness'. The track, along with another titled 'No Service', will be released on vinyl on 30 Jun.
Art School Girlfriend has released new single 'Heaven Hanging Low'. "These lyrics have a lot of religious imagery, but 'Heaven Hanging Low' is actually a queer love song all about finding that celestial and sublime euphoria in your closer, more domesticated surroundings", she says. She's also announced UK tour dates later this year, including a show at the ICA in London on 2 Nov.
Al Costelloe - formerly of Big Deal - has released new single 'So Neurotic', the title track of her debut solo EP, which is out on 28 Jul. "'So Neurotic' was inspired by me chastising myself over not being more like my partner and friends who remain so calm and unflappable in situations that would send me spiralling", she says. "At the time, I was also reading a book about how to stop overthinking and had just read a section about how over worrying/anxious thinking was passed down generationally and was startled and somewhat amused by how obvious this was in my own family, and so wanted to explore this idea of the futility of fighting against your own nature".
Andrew Hung will release new album 'Deliverance' on 11 Aug. Out now is new single 'Ocean Mouth'. "A revelation comes forth that the parts of humanity that I'm trying to run away from are me", he says in relation to the track. "The final repeating lines are a realisation that the fear must be faced, but it can be guided by the love that is also real".
Caterina Barbieri has released new track 'Swirls Of You', taken from her upcoming album 'Myuthafoo', which is out on 16 Jun.
GIGS & TOURS
Lambchop has announced UK and Ireland tour dates in January next year, as well as a separate London show at the Barbican on 1 Jun 2024, where he will be backed by a choir. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Billy McFarland says the funding is in place for Fyre Fest 2.0
McFarland was already teasing plans for future Fyre events on social media, including the Broadway show, which he is dubbing Fyre Fest 1.5. But earlier this week he announced that he now has business partners and funders in place for both the stage show and a full on Fyre Fest 2.0.
After announcing the basics on TikTok, McFarland spoke more about the plans on the Adam's Apple YouTube channel. In an interview, he was adamant that a key objective of the new projects is to pay back everyone still owed money from the original debacle back in 2017, including people and businesses on the Bahamas where the original festival was meant to take place. "They're getting paid back and getting paid back, like, right now", he declared.
That said, perhaps unsurprisingly, Fyre Fest 2.0 won't be happening in the Bahamas, with another island yet to be announced set to host the proceedings.
As for the Broadway show, "instead of like traditional Broadway actors, it's going to be current music artists, combined with the Broadway format of the play - making fun of me, but also I think sharing some of the good sides as well".
I hope whoever has invested in all this has secured the documentary rights as part of their deal, given that might be the only thing of value to come out of the whole venture. But who nows, maybe it'll be a super successful Broadway show come festival come who knows want adventure. Cheese sandwiches all round, I reckon.