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YouTube Makes a Statement on AI and Music

Platform establishes a set of three AI Music Principles and launches YouTube Music AI Incubator in partnership with UMG.

New York, NY (August 21, 2023)—YouTube Music has published a set of three fundamental AI music principles and launched the YouTube Music AI Incubator, initially partnering with artists, songwriters and producers from Universal Music Group.

YouTube CEO, Neal Mohan, shared the platform’s AI music principles and his vision for how the framework will enhance creative expression while also protecting artists on the platform:

Principle #1: “AI is here, and we will embrace it responsibly together with our music partners. As generative AI unlocks ambitious new forms of creativity, YouTube and our partners across the music industry agree to build on our long collaborative history and responsibly embrace this rapidly advancing field. Our goal is to partner with the music industry to empower creativity in a way that enhances our joint pursuit of responsible innovation.”

Principle #2: “AI is ushering in a new age of creative expression, but it must include appropriate protections and unlock opportunities for music partners who decide to participate. We’re continuing our strong track record of protecting the creative work of artists on YouTube. We’ve made massive investments over the years in the systems that help balance the interests of copyright holders with those of the creative community on YouTube.” 

Principle #3: “We’ve built an industry-leading trust and safety organization and content policies. We will scale those to meet the challenges of AI. We spent years investing in the policies and trust and safety teams that help protect the YouTube community, and we’re also applying these safeguards to AI-generated content. Generative AI systems may amplify current challenges like trademark and copyright abuse, misinformation, spam and more. But AI can also be used to identify this sort of content, and we’ll continue to invest in the AI-powered technology that helps us protect our community of viewers, creators, artists and songwriters—from Content ID to policies and detection and enforcement systems that keep our platform safe behind the scenes. And we commit to scaling this work even further.” 

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In a rare guest YouTube blog, Universal Music Group chairman and CEO, Sir Lucian Grainge, who helped shape the principles, shared his vision for an artist-centric approach to generative AI and how partnering with YouTube would best position the music industry for success as this technology continues to develop. 

Grainge wrote: “Our challenge and opportunity as an industry is to establish effective tools, incentives and rewards—as well as rules of the road—that enable us to limit AI’s potential downside while promoting its promising upside. If we strike the right balance, I believe AI will amplify human imagination and enrich musical creativity in extraordinary new ways. 

“Today, our partnership is building on that foundation with a shared commitment to lead responsibly, as outlined in YouTube’s AI principles, where Artificial Intelligence is built to empower human creativity, and not the other way around,” he added. “AI will never replace human creativity because it will always lack the essential spark that drives the most talented artists to do their best work, which is intention. From Mozart to The Beatles to Taylor Swift, genius is never random.” 

YouTube’s AI Music Incubator program will reportedly bring together some of today’s most innovative artists, songwriters, and producers to help inform YouTube’s approach to generative AI in music. The incubator will kick off with a genre-spanning cohort of creatives from Universal Music Group that includes Anitta, Björn Ulvaeus, d4vd, Don Was, Juanes, Louis Bell, Max Richter, Rodney Jerkins, Rosanne Cash, Ryan Tedder, Yo Gotti, and the Estate of Frank Sinatra, among others.