No, this genie isn’t going back in its bottle! Majority of music fans polled by IFPI think AI shouldn’t be used to copy human artists – but there’s one rather big flaw in this argument…

Yesterday, Ears To The House covered the subject of AI – something which is having a lot more influence on music than anyone admits. We reported on the development of Unison Midi Wizard 2.0, a piece of software that claims to allow people to create music in 32 different genres using robots – and our view is firmly that this technology can’t be stopped.

The music industry has been using technology since the inception of time, with many advances now in common use being derided when they first appeared. Now, it seems to take a while for people to catch up on these subjects – something that we partially blame on a largely useless music press who continually fail to report on what’s going on in the business.

Recently, a survey was commissioned by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry demonstrates this – with 74% of the 43,000 respondents agreeing with the sentiment that AI should not be used to replicate the sounds of existing artists. Similarly, 64% of those replying believe that governments should play a role and impose restrictions on what the technology is allowed to do.

There’s just one or two rather big problems here. Firstly, what exactly are governments supposed to do about the advance of AI? More often than not, the issue with governments legislating on technical matters is that the technology often moves faster than the law – and it’s going to require a lot of discussion to keep such laws up to date.

And as for the idea that AI should not be used to replicate the sounds of existing artists, isn’t that something that predates artificial intelligence? History is filled with examples of musicians trying to emulate other musicians – and given there are ultimately only twelve notes in the chromatic scale, something is eventually always going to sound similar to something that precedes it.

As we keep saying – and as we suspect we’ll probably be saying again – you can’t put this particular genie back in its bottle…

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