Billie Eilish, Katy Perry, 200+ others warn about AI threats to artists, music

The Artists Rights Alliance, supported by approximately 200 music artists such as Billie Eilish, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, and Camila Cabello, has issued an open letter urging digital music developers to recognize the threat posed by artificial intelligence to the music industry and artistic expression.

The campaign has sparked concerns over the utilization of musical compositions by AI developers, who, according to the alliance, create works that "infringe upon and devalue the rights of human artists."

We, the undersigned members of the artist and songwriting communities call on AI developers, technology companies, platforms and digital music services to cease the use of artificial intelligence to infringe upon and devalue the rights of human artists," reads the letter.

"Make no mistake," the letter continues. "We believe that, when used responsibly, AI has enormous potential to advance human creativity and in a manner that enables the development and growth of new and exciting experiences for music fans everywhere."

The open letter, presented by the Artist Rights Alliance, a nonprofit organization consisting of "working musicians, performers, and songwriters fighting for a healthy creative economy and fair treatment for all creators in the digital world," as stated on their official website.

"This assault on human creativity must be stopped. We must protect against the predatory use of AI to steal professional artists’ voices and likenesses, violate creators’ rights, and destroy the music ecosystem," the letter continues.

Subsequently, it implores AI developers, technology firms, and digital music platforms to "pledge that they will not develop or deploy AI music-generation technology, content or tools that undermine or replace the human artistry of songwriters and artists or deny us fair compensation for our work."

Other names on the list include the estate of Frank Sinatra, Mumford & Sons, Imagine Dragons, Nicki Minaj, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Cash’s daughter Rosanne Cash, Motown legends Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, Oscar-winner Billie Eilish and former One Direction member Zayn Malik. 

AI's relationship to music

AI technology is revolutionizing numerous industries, music being no exception. Notably, it has birthed creations like the viral track "Heart on My Sleeve," emulating the voices of Drake and The Weeknd. This has ignited debates and strong reactions concerning such innovations' ethical and legal implications.

But some artists have welcomed the new technology.

Last month, Madonna joined the ranks of artists embracing the next wave of AI technology by incorporating an AI text-to-video tool into some of her concerts.

Last year, the Beatles released their last "new" song, "Now And Then," using artificial intelligence. 

McCartney disclosed that AI technology enabled them to "extract" John Lennon’s vocals from an old demo track to finalize the song. Although he didn’t specify the track's name, it's speculated to be a 1978 Lennon composition titled "Now And Then," as reported by the BBC.

When asked about the explosion of AI in music, McCartney called it "kind of scary but exciting because it’s the future"

"There’s a good side to it, and then a scary side, and we’ll just have to see where that leads," he said.

RELATED: Artificial intelligence and the music industry: Harmonious or harmful?

Nevertheless, despite the optimism expressed by a member of The Beatles, the debate persists.

In May 2023, Spotify took action to remove AI-generated music produced by Boomy from its platform. Additionally, the company ensured that any streams of this content were excluded from royalty calculations as part of its ongoing commitment to safeguarding artists.

Tennessee made history last month by becoming the first state to pass legislation aimed at safeguarding songwriters, performers, and other music industry professionals from the potential risks associated with artificial intelligence.

This action positions Tennessee, renowned as the birthplace of country music and the starting point for numerous musical icons, as the pioneer state in the U.S. to implement such protections. Advocates assert that the aim is to prevent AI tools from reproducing an artist's voice without their explicit consent. The bill is slated to take effect on July 1st.

FOX News contributed to this story. It was reported from Los Angeles.