Making music with artificial intelligence is easy and cheap, so why not do it until you make it in the music industry? The thought may have crossed your mind, but it’s not a great idea. AI music is plagued with issues that make it unsustainable in the long term.
What Is the Role of AI in the Music Industry?
Most people have heard of artificial intelligence (AI) music because it’s transforming the market. You’ve probably even heard snippets on social media of long-dead singers performing modern covers of your favorite song. While it’s fascinating and fun to listen to, it has a lot of serious implications for the music industry.
The generative AI music market had a global value of $229 million in 2022 and is estimated to reach over two billion dollars by 2032. The market is growing because you no longer have to be a professional — or even an artist — to create songs.
Why Is It Controversial?
A lot of debate surrounds copyright issues and who actually owns the AI-generated music. Typically, copyrights safeguard artists and their original content from being copied or used without their consent as soon as they record the audio. After proving originality and registering for copyright protection, their work stays safe for the rest of their lives.
Usually, having audio that sounds too similar to a protected song can land someone in court — that’s where the controversy kicks in. AI art can only generate new music by training on other people’s work. Sometimes, that work is copyrighted.
Many artists, producers and platforms are unsure about the future of AI music for that reason. For example, the CEO of Spotify spoke about how the company faces challenges protecting its creators while allowing for innovation with AI-generated songs. Most creators don’t like their work being used without their permission to create new music.
Why You Shouldn’t Try to ‘Make It’ With AI Music
Despite the controversy, it might seem like the obvious choice to ‘make it’ by creating AI music. After all, it’s super easy, fast and affordable. There are definitely benefits, but it doesn’t make sense long-term because there’s too much uncertainty.
1. Little Originality
It might not seem like a big deal to borrow bits and pieces of other people’s songs, but you’re not really creating something original. You probably can’t build a career off of music that anyone else could make. Creators can add their own touches, but the end result will always be a Frankenstein of other people’s music.
2. Potential Legal Issues
One of the biggest red flags of creating AI music is the potential legal issues. In March 2023, the United States created an initiative to assess and update the scope of copyright law as it relates to AI tools, training and content. Soon, more governments and agencies will hop on board and start rolling out regulations.
On top of that, many huge companies are fighting to protect the artists they employ because their voices are the bread and butter of their whole operation. In the past, lawyers assumed AI owned the art it created, even if it undermined copyright law. However, these huge companies with great legal teams might go to great lengths to protect their most valuable assets.
3. Fewer Jobs for Artists
Many people are bothered about the potential repercussions for the artists in the industry. If anyone can create music automatically without needing a performer or a host of other assistants, what’s the point of employing them? There’s a general concern that AI music could wipe out jobs for young people looking to get into the industry.
4. Recycled Sound
There’s a ton of data AI can train off of, but it isn’t endless. The whole point of generative AI is that it comes up with new content based on a huge amount of existing data. The resulting content seems original, but it can’t truly create something unique. In the case of music, it’s cannibalizing songs from other artists.
Can You Own the AI Music You Create?
While most people assume they have some sort of right over the music they create with AI, that’s not really the case. The United States government responded to growing concern by updating its copyright laws.
According to recently updated laws in the United States, copyrights solely apply to human content because AI can’t count as an author. You can still submit your song for registration using their new form, but it won’t receive protection unless you come up with everything and give form to it yourself.
The legal-speak may sound confusing, but it boils down to the government not recognizing AI as an author or contributor. You have to develop the lyrics and sound on your own to protect your song from duplication or unauthorized use. You’ll have a tough time ‘making it’ when you can’t stop others from using your music however they want.
Why Creating AI Music Is Unsustainable
The music produced by AI can contain errors or be low quality. On top of that, it’s only as good as the training data it uses — if future copyright laws remove all copyrighted audio from its database, you won’t have anything of value to create music with. Stuff like that is actually expected to negatively affect the market growth of generative AI in music.
It’s a fun tool to experiment with and might help you find your sound, but it’s not sustainable as a crutch. Many people brush off the idea that it doesn’t have soul or originality, but bigger issues — like copyright law or a shrinking market — make it unsustainable. Besides, creating your own sound and getting recognized for that over something artificial is better.
Make Your Own Music
It’s easier said than done, but ditching AI-generated lyrics and audio gives you a better chance at making it in the industry. If companies decide to use it, they’ll likely do it for free on their own rather than scout talent. Despite the trend, the morals and merit of it are questionable at best. Your music and your career are honestly better off without AI.