Creating Harmony: The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music Launch an Inquiry into AI and the Music Industry

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On 25 January 2024, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music (APPG) launched its inquiry into artificial intelligence (AI) and the music industry in the UK. Ayo Adebajo and Josh Gallichan discuss the inquiry, as well as further regulatory principles and concerns arising out of the use of AI by music industry stakeholders.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music’s inquiry

Following the success of its report on assisting UK musicians and crew in touring Europe post-Brexit, the APPG has launched an inquiry into artificial intelligence in the music industry and how UK legislators could act to further protect and benefit industry actors.

Founded in 2015, the APPG acts as a discussion forum between Parliament and the various stakeholders within the music industry. It is comprised of a cross-party group of MPs and peers alongside UK Music, an umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the music industry in the UK. The group hears views from a range of stakeholders including artists, record labels, managers, producers and collecting societies to promote and develop the UK’s world-leading music industry. This is of particular significance following UK Music’s annual report published at the end of 2023, which revealed that the music industry’s contribution to the UK economy (Gross Value Added) was £6.7 billion in 2022.

This newly launched inquiry will bring together music industry representatives alongside AI and copyright experts to investigate how AI is affecting the sector, with a view to formulating a report which will assist in shaping future legislation. This coincides with the forthcoming implementation of the EU’s AI Act which has been optimistically welcomed within the music industry in Europe. The inquiry will allow representatives from both the technology and music industries to be heard and ultimately ensure that the regulatory and legislative landscapes in the UK protect the intellectual property rights of music industry rightsholders while simultaneously incentivising further AI development.

Key AI principles in the music industry

The report will examine the value of AI as a creative tool for musicians, with the APPG stating that it would welcome a demonstration of how generative AI is being used in music creation. It will also analyse any ongoing issues reported by music industry stakeholders and/or AI developers.

As the secretariat for the APPG, UK Music is engaged in advocating for an effective intellectual property rights framework that protects the rights of music industry stakeholders. The APPG’s forthcoming inquiry will not be the first time that UK Music has investigated the impact of AI across the music industry. UK Music recently published its “5 Key Principles on AI” putting forward its views on areas of concern pertaining to the effect of AI on the music industry:

  1. Creators’ choice – The creator, or their chosen rightsholder, should be able to control how their intellectual property rights are used. This right, enshrined in copyright, should not be undermined by any copyright exception or compulsory licensing during the input stage.
  1. Record keeping – At the input stage, AI developers should keep an auditable record of the music ingested before an AI algorithm generates new music, given that this is the only point in the generative AI-process when this data can be recorded. 
  1. Without human creativity there should be no copyright – Copyright protects human creativity and, therefore, a work without a human author should not be protected by copyright. 
  1. Labelling – AI-generated music should be clearly labelled as such, so that music creators and consumers are sufficiently informed and protected.
  1. Protection of personality rights – A new personality right should be introduced to safeguard the personality and image of music creators. It is unclear whether this would include protecting the timbre of an artist’s voice. You can read more about that here.

Areas of UK law that may be addressed by APPG’s report

Following the UK government’s AI White Paper published in March 2023 and the recently published consultation response, some respondents emphasised the need to monitor AI risks and that greater clarity is required in relation to how such risks will be managed and regulated.

One such potential risk identified in the consultation response and by music industry stakeholders in the APPG AI Parliamentary Brief, is the level of AI transparency. This concerns human users’ ability to comprehend and retrace how AI models are trained and how they generate their subsequent outputs. Where there is a lack of transparency regarding how training data is ingested by AI systems and how such systems generate their outputs, this may create difficulties for music industry stakeholders in identifying whether a musical work has been used, how the relevant work has been processed, and whether copyright infringement has occurred. This also makes it difficult to determine whether a licence agreement is required.

The report also identifies a concern about what protection may exist for an artist’s voice. Unlike sound recordings, the sound of an artist’s voice is not protected under the UK copyright regime.

We keenly await the APPG’s findings and the reception of its inquiry by music industry stakeholders and AI developers alike.

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