Exploration would like to congratulate Ignacio Arocena for the nomination to the Latin Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album of "Beautiful Humans, Vol 1" by AleMor, which includes his incredible song "Respira".

Ignacio’s talent and dedication have shone through, and this recognition is well-deserved. Wishing him the best of luck at the Latin Grammys 2023!

In this newsletter:

The Independent Music Publishers International Forum has issued a new set of guidelines for AI developers, which have been endorsed by 200 independent music publishing companies worldwide and aim to ensure “a more transparent collaboration” between indie publishers and AI tech firms.

The RIAA is adding a ‘Voice Cloning’ watch to its Notorious Markets report as generative AI makes it possible for anyone to create deep fake voice profiles of public figures. Here’s the latest.

Stream manipulation service SP-Onlinepromotion has closed down following legal action by German record industry trade group BVMI and global industry organization IFPI.

Now, the details...

Exploration Weekly - October 13, 2023
Compiled by Ana Berberana

Global Independent Music Publishers Propose Set of ‘Ethical’ Guidelines For AI Developers

In response to the ongoing discourse surrounding the rise of artificial intelligence-generated songs mimicking artists’ voices, the Independent Music Publishers International Forum (IMPF) has issued a new set of guidelines for AI developers. According to a statement, these so-called “ethical principles” around AI, endorsed by 200 independent music publishing companies worldwide, are aimed at ensuring “a more transparent collaboration” between indie publishers and AI tech firms. The IMPF’s members include Anthem Entertainment, Angry Mob Music, Big Machine Music, Concord Music Publishing, Downtown Music Publishing, ONErpm Publishing and Reservoir, among many others. The IMPF’s position on AI follows the news from March that a cross-industry alliance of over 150 organizations had banded together to launch the Human Artistry Campaign to ensure that AI is developed and used in ways that support human culture and artistry. The goal of that campaign is to ensure that AI will not replace or “erode” human culture and artistry. The IMPF’s proposal was presented on the first day of the second IMPF Global Music Entrepreneurial and Creative Industry Summit, which kicked off today (October 9) in Palma in Spain. The guidelines comprise four core principles for the “ethical” use of music in AI training processes: compliance with intellectual property and copyright laws for all parties involved in AI application; maintaining records of musical and literary works used in machine learning; labeling of AI-generated music; and a clear distinction of human creation and technical generation.

RIAA Adds ‘Voice Cloning’ Category to Notorious Markets List

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) says it saw an eruption of unauthorized AI vocal clone services in 2023. That’s no small surprise—generative AI tech has taken off in a big way this year. The result is that major artists like Drake, 21 Savage, and The Weeknd are seeing their voices cloned to create music tracks that the original artists had no hand in creating. It’s also created questions for Grammy eligibility, which sparked an intense debate earlier this year. “An explosion of unauthorized derivative works of our members’ sound recordings harm sound recording artists and copyright owners,” the RIAA says. Most of these services are located outside of the United States, which makes it harder to takedown. For now, the voice cloning site that has attracted the attention of the RIAA is voicify.ai. The RIAA says it believes the owner of this website is a UK resident, with the site generating 8.8 million visits in the past year. It makes money through subscription fees, licensing technology to give users the ability to re-create AI music covers of artists like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Bruno Mars, Eminem, Harry Styles, Adele, Ed Sheeran, and many others. Musicians aren’t the only public figures targeted by the service—though they’re the most relevant figures to the RIAA.

Germany-Based Stream Manipulation Service Closes Down Following Legal Action From the Record Industry

A prominent Germany-based stream manipulation service called SP-Onlinepromotion has closed down following legal action by record industry trade groups. Although streaming fraud is a multi-layered problem, a lot of stream manipulation is undertaken by companies that publicly promote their services, offering to boost the number of plays of any one track for a set fee. Therefore, as part of the music industry's bid to combat streaming fraud, legal action has been taken against a number of those service providers, especially in Germany and Brazil. Commercially manipulating streams definitely breaches the terms of service of each streaming platform, but may also violate computer abuse and misuse laws. The legal action against SP-Onlinepromotion was led by German record industry trade group BVMI and global industry organization IFPI. “This is an issue that the whole music industry must continue to take action to prevent", says IFPI CEO Frances Moore. "We are pursuing further targets and this most recent success in Germany serves to demonstrate how we are committed to addressing the issue globally”. BVMI boss Florian Drücke adds that stream manipulators “jeopardise the accuracy of royalty payments and call the credibility of the charts into question. As is well known, we have therefore been consistently and successfully taking legal action against unfair business practices impacting the market for several years and we will keep on doing so”.

Somms·ai Wants to Help Music Rightsholders Train Their Own AIs

A new startup founded by former Beatport, Napster, MTV and Native Instruments execs wants to help artists, labels and distributors build their own AI music models trained on their catalogs. It’s called Somms·ai and it has already signed its first partner: distributor Symphonic. Part of the pitch is not just the ability for rightsholders to train AIs based on their work, but to accurately trace back its output to the inputs. “We have invented the equivalent of PRO algorithms for measuring public performance for the enterprise music industry,” claimed CEO Sean Power. “Customers who train custom music models in our system will now understand who contributed to every output they generate.” Co-founder and COO Matthew Adell, formerly CEO of Beatport, expanded on that. “Creative DNA is encoded in every musical piece and acts as a signature, unique to its creator,” said Adell. “As a result, all future works built on that DNA can be traced back to its original owner to be monetised, compensated, or given due credit.”

Pet Shop Boys Accuse Drake of Using ‘West End Girls’ Without Permission

The Pet Shop Boys have accused Drake of using their song ‘West End Girls’ on his new album ‘For All The Dogs’ without permission. The new album was released on Friday, drawing the ire of the British duo later that day. On the song ‘All The Parties’, which also features Chief Keef, Drake can briefly be heard singing the chorus of the Pet Shop Boys’ 1984 hit. “Surprising to hear Drake singing the chorus of ‘West End Girls’ in the track ‘All The Parties’ on his new album”, they wrote on X. “No credit given or permission requested”. They were not the only people surprised to hear their work on ‘For All The Dogs’. Earlier on Friday, rapper Rye Rye responded to hearing a sample of her 2012 song ‘Shake It To The Ground’ appear on the 21 Savage-featuring track ‘Calling For You’. This turn of events particularly exasperated her because it’s the second time Drake has used a sample from ‘Shake It To The Ground’ without her prior knowledge. Previously her vocals appeared on his 2022 track ‘Currents’. Drake has not responded to either artist.

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