A New ‘Trustmark’ Could Show Music Uses AI Responsibly

Use of artificial intelligence in the music industry has been a hot topic, and there are no universal standards regarding the melding of the technology and the art form. So on Thursday, two music-industry leaders announced AI:OK, a new service aimed at “identifying ethically aligned music products and services in the age of AI.” 

Essentially, the group will be focusing on issues where AI and music overlap, and working with the music industry to come up with useful and relevant standards. Technology strategists Martin Clancy and David Hughes are group founders. Clancy is also an Irish musician who founded the band In Tua Nua.

AI:OK is aimed at promoting responsible AI principles and helping the industry self-regulate and embrace AI responsibly, while enabling new business opportunities while ensuring that musicians’ intellectual property is protected.

The group will assemble a music-advisory council and form a stakeholder forum, bringing together a group of music-industry participants to establish standards involving AI. 

It plans to issue a “trustmark” to indicate that the music receiving the mark was created responsibly where AI is concerned. The criteria for issuing the trustmark will be determined by the stakeholder forum.

“We’re dedicated to making sure AI is used ethically, and that creators and consumers share the same confidence in the music we all listen to and create together,” said Clancy. “With AI continuing to evolve at a staggering rate, we felt it necessary to bring the music industry this much-needed step forward.”

The use of AI in the music industry has hit both high and low notes recently. In 2023, former Beatle Paul McCartney said an AI program was used to separate the late John Lennon’s voice from a “ropey little bit of cassette” to make what’s been called the final Beatles song. 

But not every use of AI in music has been welcomed. Last month, Sony Music Group and its affiliates spoke out against the use of music from its artists to train AI systems. And a song that used AI to mimic singers Drake and The Weeknd was submitted for two Grammy Awards in 2023, forcing the musical academy to hastily set rules regarding AI and its awards.

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Gael Cooper