From Katy Perry to Elvis Costello, 200 musicians fear being replaced by AI

The rebellion against artificial intelligence is gaining momentum. After the Hollywood strikes a few months ago, it's the music industry's turn to collectively voice its displeasure. More than 200 artists signed an open letter this Tuesday aimed at tech companies, developers and streaming platforms. The signatories call on them to commit “Not to develop or develop AI music production technology, content or tools that undermine or replace songwriters and artists and deprive them of fair compensation”. American media Worthy points out that this is one of the music industry's strongest positions against genetic artificial intelligence.

Among the signatories we find: Katy Perry, Elvis Costello, Billie Eilish, Norah Jones, Nicki Minaj, Ja Rule, Jason Isbell, and Pearl Jam… Almost all musical genres are represented. All are members of the Artist Rights Alliance, an organization that defends the rights of artists “in the digital age.”

“We are sabotaging creativity and undermining the work of artists”

They recognize that artificial intelligence, if used intelligently, can benefit creativity. “Unfortunately some AI platforms and developers are using the technology to undermine creativity and undermine the work of artists, songwriters, musicians and rights holders, they write. When used irresponsibly, AI poses a significant threat to our privacy, our identity, our music and our income.” Artists directly point the finger at companies that use, without their consent, their voices and music to drive new models. These efforts are intended to replace the work of artists, they write.

The letter comes days after OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT and one of the industry leaders, announced a tool that can clone a voice in seconds. This is not on the market yet. But equivalents already exist, including tools from Eleven Labs, Replica Studio or Papercup.

With Sora, OpenAI enters the race for AI-generated video

In recent months, several artists including The Weeknd, Drake, Ariana Grande and Jay Z have, in fact, fallen victim to music deepfakes, tracks created by AI using their voices and musical styles without their consent.

These cases have already prompted the state of Tennessee to adopt a law a few days ago governing the use of genetic artificial intelligence in the music industry. Called the Elvis Act, it updates state privacy law to include protecting the voice of songwriters, performers and music industry professionals from the misuse of artificial intelligence.

But in the case of the letter signed by the 200 artists, it has no legislative purpose, explains Jen Jacobsen, executive director of the Artists' Rights Alliance. “We call on our technology and digital partners to work together to make this market a responsible place, to preserve the quality of music and not to replace artists”.

A months-long standoff between artists, studios and AI companies

This is not the first protest movement against artificial intelligence in the world. The fear of seeing one's work taken for the creation of synthetic content was already one of the points raised by actors and writers during the strike movement in Hollywood a few months ago.

At the end of this strike, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) reached an agreement that specifically ruled on the use of technology. This guarantees artists' consent and fair remuneration in case of AI development, without hindering its use. Additionally, just a few days ago, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, was in the middle of a spoof operation with Hollywood giants to sell the merits of Sora, the video-generating AI.