Generation AI? What does Artificial Intelligence Mean For The Future Of The UK Music Industry

UK Music Chair Lord Watson writes about the challenges and opportunities that AI presents to the UK music industry.

Page actions

21.06.2024: UK Music Chair Lord Watson writes about the challenges and opportunities that AI presents to the UK music industry in “Generation AI?” – the latest edition of Centre Write, published by independent think tank Bright Blue.

“The music industry has been using AI for years as an assistive tool for a range of tasks, from helping producers clean up music to detecting copyright breaches and predicting consumer trends. However, the music business, like many other sectors, is grappling with the explosion in potential uses of AI which present huge opportunities along with great challenges.

“As the chair of UK Music, the body that champions the UK music industry, I want to see our sector continue to produce the music professionals that are the envy of the world and generate even more than the £6.7 billion it currently contributes annually to our economy.

“There is no doubt that AI can play a part in that success, particularly when it comes to its use in a supportive role. We saw this recently when Sir Paul McCartney used AI as an assistive tool on the final Beatles song that included vocals from the late John Lennon. Importantly, McCartney swiftly clarified he was not using AI to generate a new recording of Lennon’s voice, but using AI to clean up an old recording made by the band using a process called ‘stem separation.’

“However, the rapid development and implications of generative AI technologies, where AI actually generates music, raises many challenges and hard questions for legislators, music industry leaders and the 210,000 talented people who work in the UK music sector.

“It is vital to distinguish between AI generating and creating new music; it is capable of the former, but not the latter. AI-generated works rely entirely on ingesting music made by human creators. The AI copies thousands of pieces of music and then analyses patterns and structures to generate a composition based on that computation.

“The key point is that this music is being copied. More often than not, that music is copyrighted, and therefore the express permission of the copyright holder is needed and compensation is required. If copyright is not properly upheld, both the creator and the UK sector lose out.”

You can read Tom’s full article in Centre Right for the independent Bright Blue think tank here. 

You can read the report on AI by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music, for which UK Music provides the secretariat, here.

The report includes a number of recommendations to Government which are summarised here.

Back to news