Google and Universal Music Group set to reach deal regarding AI ‘deepfakes’

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The deal would aim to allow artists to get paid for artificial intelligence that imitates their voice.

It’s confirmed that Google and Universal Music Group (UMG) are currently working together to form a partnership that would allow deepfakes to be used, but with royalties awarded directly to the record label.

While the discussions between Google and Universal Music Group appear to be in the early stages, the end goal includes developing a tool that allows fans to create AI-generated music, using both artists’ voices and songs. The key difference would be that the tool would pay the artists and owners (those who chose to opt-in to the tool) their rightful royalties.

When speaking to investors, Warner Music Group’s Chief Executive Officer Robert Kyncl stated that while using AI, fans could “pay their heroes the ultimate compliment” if the “right framework” was in place.

Read this next: TuneCore study reveals that 27% of indie artists have used AI music tools

Deepfake AI music has been making waves online recently, especially with the popularity of the track featuring AI-trained vocals from Drake and The Weeknd, Heart of my Sleeve. The song, which was created and shared by an anonymous producer who goesby Ghostwriter, gained 15 million views on social media within 48 hours.

Following copyright claims, the viral track was taken down by both Spotify and YouTube. Both Drake and The Weeknd are represented by UMG.

The news of an AI deal follows UMG’s request earlier this year for streaming services, such as Spotify, to ban the AI companies from having access to music from the label’s artists’ catalogues.

Image Credits: Facebook @UniversalMusicGroup

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