There’s another ethical AI-and-music situation out there featuring two dead singers

There was quite the scene over the AI-generated Fake Drake posts yesterday. The offending tracks have been ordered removed from streaming music services, but the controversy of using AI to create artificial singles is never going away. Here’s another example.

Ofra Haza (the “Madonna of Israel, died 2000) and Zohar Argov (the “king of Mizrahi music” and, er, convicted rapist, died 1987) are on a new song together. Neat trick, no?

The track was produced by a company called Session 42, Oudi Antebi, the CEO and co-founder, says this is the first step in a project called “Here Forever.” Before you ask, yes, this collaboration has the blessing of the estates of both singers.

I quote from The Jerusalem Post:

“When we started thinking about this idea, the idea came about from a creative standpoint: What would we do if we could do anything? What would it be? We [asked ourselves], ‘Is this ethical? Is it okay to do?’ and we decided to essentially let the [artists’] families decide for us. We went to the families and said: ‘Put yourselves in the shoes of your loved ones, and let us know if you think that they would want to be part of this project.’ That’s the best we could do.”

Antebi also admits “The entire ethical and legal concept here is new territory, and we approached it with a lot of sensitivity.”

He also nails a future problem when it comes to the volume of music in the world. “In Israel alone, probably 200 to 300 songs are sent to the radio every week – globally it’s like tens of thousands of songs every week, and that will only increase as AI starts creating songs by a click of a button.”

I already get between 500 and 600 song pitches in my mailbox every week. I’m not looking forward to the future flood.

Music Ally says this in today’s newsletter:

“So at the moment we may have a situation that feels slightly familiar to anyone working in the music industry in the early 2000s: on one side, an established music industry flush with cash from royalties from the supply of recorded music; on the other, a series of disruptive technologies that threatens to eat into that cashflow.

“The big rightsholders are aware of this similarity, and are aware that the approach last time – using legal pressure to try to halt filesharing – famously did not work out so well. And yet, these rightholders do need to make strong (and possible legal) decisions to confidently shore up their position: if AIs have been trained on licensed recordings or familiar voices, rightsholders will want to know about it, clarify where the legal line is, and decide how to work within this new paradigm.”

I, for one, do not welcome our new AI overlords.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38452 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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