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How YouTube Embraces Latest Music Industry Changes & Tries to Act Responsibly

Sharing a quick roundup of recent YouTube initiatives for artists and creators.

Photo by Ramón Salinero / Unsplash

YouTube has been popping up in AI music-related news for several months now because the platform is working on a row of initiatives and experiments in the field of artificial intelligence for creatives.

To make it a bit more clear in terms what YouTube does and why, we'll make a brief roundup of the recent changes made by YouTube regarding AI that relate to artists and creators.

YouTube launches AI Incubator with Google & Universal Music

Google and Universal Music have embraced AI and now allow content creators to legally generate voices with AI using artists’ voices as long as they pay the rightful copyright owners by introducing YouTube AI Incubator.

The incubator will help inform YouTube’s approach as we work with some of music's most innovative artists, songwriters, and producers across the industry, across a diverse range of culture, genres, and experience.

This was made in response to copyright threats and controversies that artists faced when creators used their vocals.

YouTube's Music AI Incubator was launched back in August and includes global stars, producers, songwriters, composers, and other professionals in the music industry who help gather insights on generative AI experiments and research that are being developed at YouTube. As YouTube claimed in their statement, even Frank Sinatra was part of the "talented group."

Now, in November, this initiative obtains a new round.

YouTube finally lets creators use artists' AI voices

A month ago, there were speculations that YouTube had been negotiating with record labels as it had an AI tool in the works that could imitate the voices of real recording artists.

And now, YouTube announces its collaboration with the Music AI Incubator's artist partners to develop a suite of music AI tools aimed at enhancing the music creation process.

Its first experiment, called "Dream Track in YouTube Shorts", exploits Google DeepMind technology.

It includes nine artists (Alec Benjamin, Charlie Puth, Charli XCX, Demi Lovato, John Legend, Papoose, Sia, T-Pain, and Troye Sivan) who make AI-generated versions of their voices available for “a small group of select US creators” to use in their YouTube Shorts videos as unique soundtracks of up to 30 seconds.

For that, the platform uses Google's "most advanced music generation model to date, Lyria".

How does it work? Here's how YouTube explains:

By simply typing an idea into the creation prompt and selecting a participating artist that appears in the carousel, an original Shorts soundtrack featuring the AI-generated voice of that artist will be produced for the creator to use in their Short.

The idea behind this whole endeavor is the responsible and ethical use of artificial intelligence that doesn't violate artists' rights, nor does it limit the creators.

"The development of AI technology is rapidly changing the way we navigate the landscape and I believe as artists we need to be a part of shaping what that future looks like. My career has been about pushing boundaries of and creating the most interesting music for my fans. I am open minded and hopeful that this experiment with Google and YouTube will be a positive and enlightening experience" says Demi Lovato to YouTube.
See also: Can AI song be submitted for the Grammys and win the award? Explaining inside.

Yet, YouTube cracks down deep fakes & AI-generated music

At the same time, as we reported a few days ago, YouTube announced it was to take action against AI-generated imitations of musicians, offering a feature to flag songs that mimic artists' voices.

However, the platform claimed that initially this option would only be accessible to "labels or distributors who represent artists participating in YouTube’s early AI music experiments."

In addition to fighting with AI-generated music made outside the official experiment scope, YouTube will enable users to report deepfakes through an updated privacy complaint process and require content creators to disclose the use of realistic-looking "manipulated or synthetic" content, including AI-generated material.

See also: How to create an AI song with any artist's voice.