Spotify CEO, Daniel Ek, has clarified the platform’s stance on AI-generated music, stating that there are no plans to ban such content but emphasising the importance of respecting human artists. This declaration comes after Spotify removed a track earlier this year that featured the AI-cloned voices of artists Drake and The Weeknd.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek categorises AI use in music into three groups:
- Acceptable Tools: These include technologies like auto-tune that enhance music.
- Mimicking artists: AI tools that directly mimic artists are not considered acceptable.
- Middle Ground: This category involves AI-generated music influenced by existing artists but not directly impersonating them, posing a more contentious area for discussion.
The challenge that Spotify CEO Daniel Ek sees it, lies in establishing boundaries for AI in music and navigating these categories.
While Spotify does not ban all forms of AI, it prohibits its content from being used to train machine learning or AI models capable of generating music. Artists have expressed growing concerns about AI’s impact on the creative industries, with some questioning whether AI creations can truly be considered art.
The Heart on My Sleeve song controversy highlighted the challenges posed by AI-generated content. The track used the cloned voices of Drake and The Weeknd without their consent and was subsequently removed from Spotify in April. The creator’s attempt to have it nominated for a Grammy award was declined.
Ek also discussed Spotify’s significant investment in podcasts, including deals with high-profile figures like the Obamas and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. While some podcast deals have been successful, others have not met expectations.
Regarding regulation, Ek expressed support for the incoming Online Safety Bill and the Digital Markets Bill in the UK. These bills aim to enhance online safety for children and increase competition within the tech industry.
Spotify has been critical of Apple and Google’s app store policies, particularly their commission fees on in-app purchases. The European Commission has charged Apple with breaking EU competition rules following a complaint from Spotify in 2020, although a final ruling is pending. Apple contends that most European developers pay a 15% commission rate due to lower revenue levels.