AI-Generated Music - The ethical concerns for the music industry


2/1/20232 min read

Human Music Vs A.I Music Ethics
Human Music Vs A.I Music Ethics

AI-Generated Music - A brief look into the ethical questions we should be asking, and how many boundaries we are breaking through.

There is a lot of hype towards everything revolving around Artificial Intelligence. The future looks exciting, and sometimes, it looks like we are living in the beginning of a Sci-Fi Utopia, where there is a tool available to make every creative endeavor easier, or to even let it be completely automated to the point of just asking it to do something, in the same way we would ask a professional human, and getting perfectly acceptable results. However, it doesn't take much to start questioning: "how far should we go?" and to realize how easily and fast things could go south.

As AI technology continues to advance, the use of AI-generated music is going to become more prevalent in the industry. While the capabilities of AI-Generated Music offer exciting possibilities, it is also important to consider the ethical implications of this trend, which could be growing too fast, to the point of turning this seemingly "Sci-fi Like Utopia" into a "Real life Dystopia".

The topic of AI-Generated Music raises several questions about the potential loss of creativity and originality in music ( let's call it "The Human Touch"), as well as a huge impact on the livelihood of professional musicians, composers, producers, audio engineers, and pretty much everyone involved. The implications of the use of Artificial Intelligence go way beyond the music industry, and raise concerns about the whole way we function as society, regarding many main social areas such as economics, or politics.

Despite these concerns, the industry and society as a whole tend to prioritize progress over ethical considerations, which often leads to a never-ending cycle of "playing catch-up" while trying to fix most of the irreversible damage. So it is crucial to have a nuanced understanding of the implications of AI-generated music in the industry and to actively address any ethical dilemmas that may arise.

So, let's take this opportunity to explore some of the main concerns we should be playing close attention, by looking at some of the main areas of society:


One of the key economic concerns surrounding AI-generated music is the potential impact on employment and revenue for professionals of the industry (Musicians, Composers, Mixing and Mastering engineers, Producers, etc).

The music industry has always been a very challenging and hard one to make a living in but the advent of AI technology has the potential to exacerbate this issue even further.

As AI technology becomes more advanced and capable of producing high-quality AI-made music, it may lead to increased automation in the industry and a decrease in the need for human musicians.

This could easily result in a loss of jobs and revenue streams for composers, songwriters, performers, etc. Additionally, if we take into account the advent of The Metaverse, which is also growing at a steady and fast pace, we could also see a decrease in demand for live performances, further impacting the livelihoods of musicians.

Furthermore, it's also important to consider the fact that Ai-generated music may be used to create new revenue streams, such as Ai-generated jingles, background music, movie scores, etc. These are already some of the revenue streams that a lot of independent musicians and producers have taken advantage to try to make some sort of living, specially after the fast transition to the digital market that took place after the events of 2019/2020.

Not only this AI-made music will flood the market, competing with and diluting the value of human-made music, but it may also lead to more complex and challenging copyright issues. This may introduce more legal and bureaucratic barriers, giving another problem for the "Average Joe" to deal with instead of being able to focus on it's craft, further incentivizing the use of AI tools, to compensate for the lake of time or resources.

Culture & Emotion:

There is no doubt that Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, and it's becoming increasingly smarter and more capable of emulating and replicating human-like behaviour. This also holds true at the music-making department, however...

Machines And algorithms will always be Machines and Algorithms. And even if they "feel human", they are not sentient beings who can feel emotion, and also don't have a cultural background associated to them as we do.

As impressive and technologically advanced as Ai-made music may be, it will still lack the emotional depth and complexity of human-made music. Music has an unique power to moves us, as human beings, to make us feel things that words can't express, but an algorithm may not be able to fully capture the nuance and subtleties of human emotions.

Another worry is that AI-generated music may lead to a homogenization of music styles and a decrease in musical diversity. With AI algorithms at the helm, and due to their nature of trying to cater to every human-being in the most generalistic manner, there may be a lot of "more of the same" type of music, rather than a wide range of culturally rich and diverse umbrella of different types of music.

Music is often deeply rooted in a particular culture or community, and it reflects the values, beliefs, and experiences of that group. But Ai-made music doesn't have those same ties to a specific culture.

Additionally, an argument could be made that AI-generated music may lack authenticity, as it is not created by a human. This could further decrease the emotional and cultural value of music, as it may not have the same personal touch and meaning as human-made music.

Law & Regulations:

Copyright laws are a complex and nuanced area in the music industry. There are many different stakeholders involved, such as: Songwriters, composers, performers, publishers, labels, streaming services, distribution services (the list could go on), each with their own set of rights and responsibilities.

With AI, we can expect this already complicated issue to get a lot more...well, complicated.

We can expect to see more stakeholders getting involved, such as: AI software developers and companies, AI-generated music legal expert, AI music management companies, and probably more.

By having a lot of parties involved, from different backgrounds, and with different interests, we will see a lot of disputes regarding who is entitled to what since it may be difficult to determine who owns the rights to the AI-generated music and how it should be licensed and compensated.

In addition to all of this, AI-generated music may also lead to more complex and challenging copyright issues, such as when AI algorithms are trained on existing music and generate new songs that are similar to existing ones, raising valid questions about originality, authorship, and infringement.

The Human Touch:

While it's important to explore how AI could affect each section of society, it's also important to explore the issue in a more holistic and human way. AI-generated music is not just a technological advancement, it's something that touches on our very fabric of society, how we function, how we express ourselves, and as humanity as whole.

As music lovers, we all have a deep emotional connection to music. It's something that moves us, that speaks to us on a level that words can't. Music has the power to take us on a journey, to make us feel things we never thought possible, and above all, to connect with each other, as humans. And that's what makes the idea of AI-generated music so frightening.

Will AI-generated music have the same emotional depth and complexity as human-made music? Will it be able to move us in the same way? Will it be able to create a connection with the listeners in the same way human-made music does? Will it have the same cultural significance and impact as human-made music? Will it reflect the values, beliefs, and experiences of a specific culture or community? Will it convey a sense of authenticity? Will it feel...human?

On one hand, the idea of AI-generated music having the ability to evoke deep emotions and create powerful connections with listeners is exciting. It could open up new possibilities for music creation and bring new dimensions to the way we experience and appreciate music. It could also bring new opportunities for music creators and producers, giving them access to new tools that can help them to express themselves in new ways.

On the other hand, the idea of music being created by machines raises important ethical questions. If music is an expression of human emotion and experience, can it truly be considered as music if it's created by a machine? And if so, what does that say about the value of human-made music?

It's important to consider the emotional and cultural implications of AI-generated music, and to have a nuanced understanding of the issue. Additionally, it's important to consider the implications of using AI-generated music in different contexts, such as in film, television, live performances, etc . Will AI-generated music have the same impact and significance as human-made music in these contexts?

With the added complexity on the industry, we should start asking the right questions right now:

  • "Who should be held accountable for any infringements of copyright and who should be entitled to any royalties generated by AI-generated music?"

  • "Who owns each part of the final piece?"

  • "Will A.I eventually replace musicians completely?

  • "Will we humanity be so busy thinking "what could we be doing with AI?" that it forgets to think: What should we be doing with AI?"

For now, all we could do, is keeping asking questions, and hope to solve this issues before they get too big...

Because A.I isn't going away.

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