Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj Among 200 Artists Who Call to Stop A.I. From ‘Devaluing Music’

"Unfortunately some platforms and developers are employing A.I. to sabotage creativity and undermine artists," says an open letter signed by more than 200 musicians.

Finneas O'Connell and Billie Eilish pose in the press room during the 96th Annual Academy Awards at Ovation Hollywood on March 10, 2024
Billie Eilish (right) and her brother and collaborator Finneas O’Connell signed the open letter. Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Top music artists like Nicki Minaj, Billie Eilish and Katy Perry are urging tech companies to be conscientious about the development in A.I. and its effect on the music industry. A letter titled “Stop Devaluing Music” published yesterday (April 1) through the nonprofit Artists Rights Alliance has 200 artist signatures asking A.I. developers, tech companies, platforms and digital music services to “cease the use of artificial intelligence to infringe upon and devalue the rights of human artists.”

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“A.I. has enormous potential to advance human creativity,” the letter said. “Unfortunately some platforms and developers are employing AI to sabotage creativity and undermine artists, songwriters, musicians and rightsholders.” 

Musicians have gotten a glimpse into how A.I. could be harmful to their careers. Plenty of examples of A.I.-generated songs imitating artists like Ye (Kanye West) and Rihanna exist online. Last year, the industry was distressed by viral TikTok videos where an anonymous creator who identified as a ghostwriter showed off a song that was made to sound like a collaboration between The Weeknd and Drake. The song was streamed on several platforms, including Spotify and Apple (AAPL) Music, and attracted millions of views on TikTok. 

Universal Music Group, which represents both The Weeknd and Drake, warned music streaming platforms not to allow generative A.I. models to train on their artist’s music. In February, the record label pulled its music off TikTok after publishing an open letter to the short form video platform demanding better compensation for artists. 

“Some of the biggest and most powerful companies are, without permission, using our work to train A.I. models. These efforts are directly aimed at replacing the work of human artists with massive quantities of A.I.-created sounds and ‘images’ that substantially dilute the royalty pools that are paid out to artists,” today’s letter by Artists Rights Alliance said. “For many working musicians, artists and songwriters who are just trying to make ends meet, this would be catastrophic.” 

Some artists have started to welcome A.I. as it moves in on the music industry more and more. In November, YouTube launched its A.I. music generator Dream Track with the backing of nine musicians including Demi Lovato, john legend and T-Pain. All of these artists partnered with YouTube to create A.I.-generated music resembling their own sounds and voices. Both Lovato and T-Pain were quoted saying that their careers have been about “pushing boundaries” and making “the most interesting music for” their fans.  

A.I. music generators are still only developing, and not all the models are convincing. But this will only change as the technology gets better. One of the latest advancements comes from a company called Suno, whose V3 model can create two-minute songs using text prompts. This makes it very easy for the average person to create a song that sounds produced, and artists are afraid that tools like this could encroach on their intellectual property and their profession overall. 

Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj Among 200 Artists Who Call to Stop A.I. From ‘Devaluing Music’