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YouTube reveals its plans for compensating artists for AI music

In a post on its official blog today, YouTube announced how it plans to tackle the upcoming challenges faced by AI on its platform, particularly with music that is uploaded to the site. With generative AI testing the limits of current copyright law across the world, YouTube has taken it upon itself to work on the task with artists and rights holders on the platform.

Within the post, YouTube specifically calls out how it is working with one of its largest music partners, Universal Music Group (UMG), as well as its roster of talent, naming Anitta, Björn Ulvaeus as well as the estate of Frank Sinatra among others, to help gather insights on generative AI that is being worked on at YouTube.

The post itself breaks down its plan into three principles, which are:

  • Principle #1: AI is here, and we will embrace it responsibly together with our music partners
  • Principle #2: AI is ushering in a new age of creative expression, but it must include appropriate protections and unlock opportunities for music partners who decide to participate.
  • Principle #3: We've built an industry-leading trust and safety organization and content policies. We will scale those to meet the challenges of AI.

To summarise the points above, YouTube aims to continue developing and working on AI-based projects moving forward, while also addressing concerns from the music industry on how the use of these tools is still going to maintain the relevant copyrights of the content's original creators that the generative AI may learn from.

Principle #1 references how in 2023 alone the site has already racked up 1.7 billion views of videos related to AI tools alone while referencing the history of music on the platform and partnering with it to further drive creativity on the site.

Additionally, YouTube has announced that it will be introducing the Music AI Incubator which it says will "help inform YouTube's approach as we work with some of music's most innovative artists, songwriters, and producers across the industry."

Principle #2 primarily talks about how Content ID has already worked very effectively to ensure rights holders get paid for the usage of their content, and how it will be building upon this to integrate the learnings into how it manages AI-generated content.

Lastly, Principle #3 talks about how even though generative AI going to require a lot of work to manage on the platform, it can also be used as a tool to fight against copyright abuse on the site. Continuing to invest in AI-powered technology to protect the community of viewers, creators, artists and songwriters.

YouTube also goes on to state that "these three principles are a critical part of our overall approach to AI at YouTube" with further plans and updates coming in the future on specific technologies and monetisation opportunities, and policies across the platform relevant to generative AI use, stating that these provide a strong foundation for both YouTube and the music industry to better navigate what's coming.

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