TODAY'S TOP STORY: YouTube yesterday announced the launch of a new YouTube Music AI Incubator, which will "bring together some of today's most innovative artists, songwriters and producers" to help inform the Google company's "approach to generative AI in music". And, alongside that, it published three key AI music principles and confirmed an alliance with Universal Music... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES YouTube sets out three principles for the development of AI music
LEGAL Montana defends TikTok ban in new court filing
Earth, Wind & Fire trademark dispute will continue in Florida court
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Worldwide Independent Network publishes annual report
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Saudi media firm invests in Anghami
AND FINALLY... Tickets for second Fyre Festival now on sale
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YouTube sets out three principles for the development of AI music
YouTube yesterday announced the launch of a new YouTube Music AI Incubator, which will "bring together some of today's most innovative artists, songwriters and producers" to help inform the Google company's "approach to generative AI in music". And, alongside that, it published three key AI music principles and confirmed an alliance with Universal Music.

The announcement comes as discussions continue within the music industry around the opportunities and challenges posed by generative AI, and in particular AI models that can generate music. It also follows reports that Universal Music is in talks with Google about licensing a new AI platform that will allow users to legitimately generate tracks that imitate the voices, lyrics or sounds of established artists.

The new YouTube Music AI Incubator will initially involve a number of Universal-allied artists and songwriters, including: Anitta, Björn Ulvaeus, d4vd, Don Was, Juanes, Louis Bell, Max Richter, Rodney Jerkins, Rosanne Cash, Ryan Tedder and Yo Gotti, plus the estate of Frank Sinatra.

As for the big three guiding principles that will be applied as YouTube develops music-making AI tools, they are basically that YouTube will collaborate with the music industry on all this rather than creating tools that could compete with it; that they will seek to provide protections for music-makers and their business partners; and they will use AI to tackle any new challenges created by AI, such as in areas like copyright, spam and misinformation.

Expanding on all this, YouTube published blogs posts from both its own CEO Neal Mohan and Universal Music boss man Lucian Grainge.

The latter wrote: "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".

On the collaboration with YouTube, he continued: "Central to our collective vision is taking steps to build a safe, responsible and profitable ecosystem of music and video - one where artists and songwriters have the ability to maintain their creative integrity, their power to choose, and to be compensated fairly".

So there you go. And here are those three key YouTube music AI principles in full...

Principle #1: AI is here, and we will embrace it responsibly together with our music partners. 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. Our goal is to partner with the music industry to empower creativity in a way that enhances our joint pursuit of responsible innovation.

Principle #2: AI is ushering in a new age of creative expression, but it must include appropriate protections and unlock opportunities for music partners who decide to participate. We're continuing our strong track record of protecting the creative work of artists on YouTube. We've made massive investments over the years in the systems that help balance the interests of copyright holders with those of the creative community on YouTube.

Principle #3: We've built an industry-leading trust and safety organisation and content policies. We will scale those to meet the challenges of AI. We spent years investing in the policies and trust and safety teams that help protect the YouTube community, and we're also applying these safeguards to AI-generated content.

Generative AI systems may amplify current challenges like trademark and copyright abuse, misinformation, spam, and more.

But AI can also be used to identify this sort of content, and we'll continue to invest in the AI-powered technology that helps us protect our community of viewers, creators, artists and songwriters - from Content ID, to policies and detection and enforcement systems that keep our platform safe behind the scenes. And we commit to scaling this work even further.


Montana defends TikTok ban in new court filing
The US state of Montana has formally defended its decision to basically ban use of TikTok within the state, insisting that that ban does not breach free speech rights contained in the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

The state's Attorney General Austin Knudsen filed legal papers late last week setting out arguments for why law-makers in Montana have the power to restrict use of the TikTok app. That filing was opposing a bid by TikTok and a group of its users to get a preliminary injunction in the courts stopping the ban.

Much concern has been raised, of course, about what happens to TikTok user-data, and whether the Chinese government has access to it via the app's China-based owner Bytedance.

As a result, multiple governments have stopped their employees from using TikTok on official devices and India instigated a full-on ban back in 2020.

TikTok, for its part, continues to insist there are no data security issues on its platform. However, that insistence hasn't really silenced its critics in political circles, with a number of media reports alleging that various data concerns remain.

Law-makers in Montana passed a new law in April which will ban distribution of the TikTok app within the state from the start of the next year. TikTok and a group of TikTok creators then filed lawsuits seeking to stop the ban, mainly on First Amendment grounds.

In his filing last week, Knudsen outlined all the concerns that have been raised about TikTok user-data and the rationale behind his state's ban, before dealing with the claims that stopping distribution of the TikTok app violates the First Amendment.

The law that contains the ban, known as SB419, does not - he insisted - "prohibit certain messages, ideas, subject matter or content". Instead, it simply "prohibits the use of a product in Montana".

And, he argued, "Montana's police power comfortably lets it regulate (up to the point of banning) products or practices that, in Montana's judgment, impose unjustifiable consumer harms. SB419 does just that: it bans TikTok because of harms inseparable from TikTok's data-harvesting practices and ownership by a hostile foreign government - facts unique to TikTok among social media apps".

He then sought to illustrate why the First Amendment should not be used to stop law-makers from restricting the distribution of what they consider to be harmful products, making analogies to sports-betting apps and even a theoretical cancer-causing radio.

Stopping the TikTok ban on First Amendment grounds, he wrote, would set a precedent that would leave Montana unable to "ban a cancer-causing radio merely because that radio also transmitted protected speech, or to ban sports-betting apps merely because those apps also shared informative videos teaching their users the intricacies of sports gambling".

"The targeted harms - preventing cancer, illegal gambling or data-gathering by a hostile foreign state - are inherently non-expressive and thus subject to Montana's plenary police-power regulations", he went on. "Overlaying them with expressive conduct - radio communications or instructive videos - doesn't change that calculus".

We await to see how the court responds.


Earth, Wind & Fire trademark dispute will continue in Florida court
A trademark lawsuit being pursued by a company owned by the sons of late Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White will proceed after a judge in Florida declined to dismiss the litigation on jurisdiction grounds.

Earlier this year Earth, Wind & Fire IP LLC sued Substantial Music Group and Stellar Communications Inc over shows that they have promoted which involve musicians who played with Earth, Wind & Fire in the past.

Those gigs were originally marketed as the 'Earth, Wind & Fire Legacy Reunion' and later the 'Legacy Reunion Of Earth, Wind & Fire Alumni'.

Through those shows, it was claimed in the lawsuit, the promoters infringed trademarks owned by Earth, Wind & Fire IP LLC, as well confusing fans into thinking the concerts had an official connection to the group.

The lawsuit was filed with the courts in Florida. The defendants then argued that they have no base in that state and therefore the litigation should be dismissed on jurisdiction grounds, or alternatively moved to a court in the state of Georgia.

However, 'Legal Reunion' shows did take place in Florida, meaning - the plaintiffs argued - the two defendants had infringed their rights within the state. And that, the judge overseeing the case concluded last week, is sufficient to give his court jurisdiction over the dispute.

Attempts by Stellar Communications to distant itself from the Florida shows also failed. As a result, the case will continue.


Worldwide Independent Network publishes annual report
The Worldwide Independent Network - which brings together organisations representing the independent music sector in countries across the globe - has published its annual report, mainly outlining the various initiatives its member organisations and the labels they work for have been involved in over the last year.

That includes awards, networking, training and other events, as well as initiatives focused on things like AI, streaming, touring, data, sustainability and diversity.

It also gathers together some stats, with an accompanying blurb stating that "the independent sector accounts for at least 40% global market share and is responsible for 80% of the world's new releases, with at least $4.1 billion having been invested in discovering and nurturing global independent talent".

Commenting on the report, WIN's Chair - Zena White from Partisan Records - says: "WIN's purpose is to develop a thriving ecosystem for independent music businesses worldwide, which ultimately leads to more economic options for artists, in turn allowing for more diversity and progress for music as an artform".

"We do this by nurturing new and existing trade associations the world over", she goes on, "communicating on key issues that affect the industry, and providing a place for members to build business connections. It is a great honour to represent the independent music community on such a global level and I am inspired to support the team to move the agenda forward".

WIN CEO Noemí Planas adds: "WIN acts as a powerful catalyst, uniting like-minded individuals, companies and associations around the world under a shared vision, addressing industry challenges to create a diverse and vibrant music ecosystem with equal access and opportunities for all independents".

"As we enter yet another chapter of technological change", she continues, "we embrace a future where solidarity and cooperation pave the way for outstanding achievements and shape a world where we can all thrive".

You can access the report here.


Saudi media firm invests in Anghami
The venture capital arm of Saudi media firm SRMG has made a $5 million investment in Anghami, the music streaming service that operates in the Middle East and North Africa.

SRMG says that is investment "will bolster Anghami's growth trajectory through its extensive media reach, content library and portfolio of leading assets in audio/podcasts, and enable it to capture a larger share in the fast-growing sector that is forecasted to reach $700mm in 2026".

And why not?

Confirming the investment, Eddy Maroun, CEO of Anghami, says: "This investment from SRMG Ventures marks a significant milestone for Anghami. We have continually evolved to meet our audience's changing demands and support the region's rising entertainment and music industry".

"Working together with SRMG", he adds, "a leader and innovator in regional media, Anghami will be able to unlock further opportunities to champion the music ecosystem. This partnership will propel regional artists to greater heights, expand their global reach, and create new touchpoints for our users and artists alike".

Yeah, maybe.


TW:Talks at Edinburgh Festival 2023: Sophie Zucker
CMU's sister media ThreeWeeks is currently covering the Edinburgh Festival, the world's biggest cultural event, which takes over the Scottish capital for three weeks with a packed programme of comedy, theatre, music, musicals, dance, cabaret, spoken word and a whole lot more.

Here in the CMU Daily we are picking out some of the highlights of this year's coverage. That includes recent editions of the TW:Talks podcast, which sees CMU's Chris Cooke chatting to people performing at the Festival.

Today comedian and comedy writer Sophie Zucker talking about her show 'Sophie Sucks Face'.

Says the show's blurb: "From 'The Daily Show's Sophie Zucker comes a one-woman musical about love, death and incest. When Sophie accidentally hooks up with her cousin, she must decide to shun him or seduce him at the next family gathering".

Check out this TW:Talks interview here.


Tickets for second Fyre Festival now on sale
Tickets for the second Fyre Festival are on sale. Second as in this is the second time tickets have been available for a Fyre Festival. Obviously, technically speaking, it's not a second Fyre Festival, because the first one didn't really happen.

Fyre Festival founder and convicted fraudster Billy McFarland confirmed in May that he was having another go at staging a music festival.

The original Fyre Festival in 2017 - billed as a luxury music event in the Bahamas - fell apart just as people started arriving, as it became clear that the infrastructure required for a festival had not been but in place. That led to a stack of litigation and the fraud charges that resulted in McFarland doing some jail time.

Confirming that tickets were now on sale for Fyre Festival 2, McFarland said in a TikTok video yesterday: "It has been the absolute wildest journey to get here and it really all started during the seven month stint in solitary confinement".

"I wrote out this 50 page plan of how [I could] take this overall interest and demand in Fyre", he added, "and how it would take my ability to bring people from around the world together and make the impossible happen, how I would find the best partners in the world to allow me to be me, while executing Fyre's vision to the highest level".

There is little specific information about what Fyre Festival 2 will involve, except that it will take place - in theory at least - somewhere in the Caribbean in December 2024. Early bird tickets are just $499. Bargain!

What could possibly go wrong?


ANDY MALT heads up our editorial operations, overseeing the CMU Dailywebsite and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE is co-Founder and MD of CMU - he continues to write key business news stories, and runs training, research and event projects for the CMU Insights consultancy unit and CMU:DIY future talent programme.
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SAM TAYLOR leads on the commerical side of CMU, overseeing sales, sponsorship and business development, as well as heading up training, research and event projects at our consultancy unit CMU Insights.
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CARO MOSES is Editor of CMU's sister media ThisWeek Culture and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh. Having previously also written and edited articles for CMU, she continues to advise and support our operations.
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