The music industry’s AI fight | The Vergecast

The music industry’s AI fight | The Vergecast

Intro (00:00:00)

  • The Vergecast discusses AI music copyright, lawsuits involving Drake, new phone events, and Ultimate Ears party speakers.
  • The hosts correct their pronunciation of various words, including "risk five," "homage," and "niche."
  • They debate whether Roman numerals should be pronounced as letters or numbers, using examples like "iPhone X" and "Super Bowl XL."
  • The hosts acknowledge that they are part of a niche group of people who care about such pronunciations and express their appreciation for their audience's understanding.

RIAA vs AI startups (00:04:52)

  • The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has sued two AI music companies, Yudo and Sunno))), for copyright infringement.
  • Yudo's tool was used to create "BBL Drizzy," a song that went viral.
  • Sunno has a deal with Microsoft and its AI tool is featured in Microsoft's Copilot.
  • The RIAA claims that the AI companies trained their models on a significant amount of copyrighted music without permission.
  • Sunno claims that its AI tool creates "completely new outputs" and is therefore transformative, but the RIAA disputes this claim.
  • The music industry is more organized and aggressive in protecting its rights compared to other industries.
  • The history of music on the internet has been marked by legal battles over copyright infringement.

Music industry's history with copyright (00:07:42)

  • The music industry has been more successful in defending its copyrights compared to the movie industry, due to the emotional connection people have with music.
  • AI music systems can create convincing outputs that may lead to copyright infringement lawsuits.
  • The music industry has a unique and long-standing system for determining artist compensation, and it is adept at taking legal action against those who operate outside of this system.
  • The music industry has the resources and experience to take on powerful tech companies like Google in legal battles, as demonstrated by their previous actions against YouTube which resulted in the creation of Content ID.
  • YouTube and Universal Music collaborated to develop tools for AI music generation and determine how creators can be compensated for their work.
  • VCS's CEO suggested that the company needed to develop its product without the constraints imposed by labels, implying that VCS has been using copyrighted works without explicit permission.

AI music outputs (00:17:02)

  • AI-generated music can closely resemble copyrighted songs, raising copyright infringement concerns.
  • AI-generated music often has a "grainy" or "artificial" sound quality, and the instruments sound fake.
  • AI music generators like Riffusion have been accused of reproducing existing songs without permission, raising concerns about fair use.
  • The music industry is grappling with the challenge of AI-generated music, which can produce convincing imitations of popular artists.
  • AI music generators like Udio and Sunno))) can create songs that closely resemble the styles of specific artists when given prompts.

Fair Use and market impact (00:34:01)

  • The music industry is suing AI companies like OpenAI and Spotify for copyright infringement, claiming that AI systems are copying their music without permission.
  • AI companies argue that their use of copyrighted music is fair use, a legal defense that allows for the use of copyrighted material without permission in certain circumstances.
  • The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) argues that companies like Spotify are changing the marketplace for music by allowing users to upload songs generated using copyrighted material.
  • The court will consider several factors in determining whether AI companies' use of copyrighted music is fair use, including the purpose and character of the use, the amount of the use, the nature of the use, and the effect on the market.
  • Some publishers are entering into licensing deals with AI companies to create a market for training data and to strengthen their argument that AI companies' use of copyrighted music is harming the market.

The Internet's Impact on the music industry (00:41:53)

  • The internet has disrupted the music industry, making it difficult for musicians to earn a living.
  • Streaming services like Spotify have become the target of criticism for low payouts to artists, while record labels maintain a better public image.
  • The existential crisis for the music industry lies in the potential devaluation of music due to flooding the market with independent music and AI-generated content.
  • Copyright law acts as an economic system by creating scarcity and allowing artists to charge for their work, but AI-generated music poses moral and legal challenges that may not be addressed by licensing deals.
  • The uncertain copyright status of AI-generated music limits its use in television and film due to potential legal complications.
  • Human connection remains crucial in music, and fandoms are unlikely to develop around AI-generated artists in the same way they do around human musicians.

Upcoming Phone Announcements (00:50:26)

  • The tech industry is witnessing a rapid succession of phone launches, with Samsung, Google, and Motorola announcing new devices.
  • There is an ongoing "AI race" among tech companies, with Google aiming to differentiate its Pixel devices through AI capabilities and compete with Samsung and Apple in the hardware market.
  • Google recently reorganized its hardware and Android teams under Rick Osterloh's leadership.
  • Despite the hype surrounding AI, skepticism remains about its effectiveness, as many AI features have yet to be proven in real-world scenarios.
  • The music industry is engaged in a fight against AI.
  • Google and Samsung are expected to release AI-powered phones before Apple, but the market demand for such devices remains uncertain.

The State of Foldables (00:55:33)

  • Google is expected to release the Pixel Fold, while Motorola will release the new Razr Plus, both featuring foldable designs.
  • Samsung is also planning to release new versions of its Z Flip and Z Fold foldable devices, but it remains unclear how Samsung will differentiate its offerings from Google's.
  • Tech companies believe that AI will revolutionize the industry, but foldable and flippable form factors may have a more significant impact on changing users' relationships with their devices.
  • AI can make phones more useful, allowing for smaller and less distracting devices, and smartphone companies will likely focus on AI camera features in the coming months.
  • However, there is a concern that these features may become repetitive across different devices, and some users have noticed that iPhone photos appear inferior compared to other smartphones.
  • As AI advances in smartphone photography, there is a risk that the trend of overly saturated and unnatural-looking photos may become more prevalent.

Lightning Round (01:01:12)

  • Rabbit, a voice AI gadget, is facing criticism for security vulnerabilities that allow researchers to access user data, despite reports of the issue.
  • Sony's Aila car, showcased in collaboration with Honda, is mostly a fake car with no guarantee of having a PS5 installed.
  • Ultimate Ears announced new party speakers with a "megaphone" feature that allows users to broadcast sound from their phones.
  • Microsoft's new line of laptops, including the Surface Laptop, is receiving positive reviews for its performance and battery life.
  • Verizon's new logo features red text on a black background with a fire gradient in the "V," resembling a knockoff sports drink brand.
  • Meta continues to push for interoperability and Federation, despite controversies and limitations on political content.
  • The Supreme Court ruled against a group of COVID deniers who sued the Biden Administration for alleged First Amendment violations related to social media censorship.
  • OpenAI, despite its advanced technology, has been criticized for its lack of product development skills, but the release of the ChatGPT Mac app provides a more practical interface for interacting with the AI chatbot.
  • Tesla issued a recall for the Cybertruck due to faulty wipers and trim issues, with plans to fix the problems using an adhesive promoter and replacing the wiper motor controller.
  • Rivian, a competitor of Tesla, announced a $5 billion joint venture with Volkswagen and unveiled five new mystery cars, signaling increased competition in the electric vehicle market.

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