Artificial intelligence is rapidly transforming many aspects of daily life, including music and entertainment. The technology has prompted a significant push for stronger protections within the music industry, as AI companies face multiple lawsuits over alleged copyright infringement.
Legendary music producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the creative geniuses behind many pop and R&B hits, are now speaking out about the challenges AI poses to the music industry. Their concerns stem from AI’s ability to potentially replicate and manipulate artists’ existing works without proper authorization.
“It’s a new day. It’s a new technology. Needs to be new rules,” Lewis said.
He said AI could take a song or a body of work and use it to create a song with all the data it has.
“So like. if all of a sudden someone took Janet [Jackson] and did a version of her voice and put it over a song,” Jimmy Jam explained. “If she said, ‘Yes, that’s fine’ and she’s participating in it, that’s different than if somebody just takes it … and right now there’s really no regulation.”
U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Marsha Blackburn are seeking to address these concerns by drafting the bipartisan “No Fakes Act.” This proposed legislation aims to protect artists’ voices and visual likenesses, holding individuals, companies and platforms accountable for replicating performances without permission.
“You’ve got to put some penalties on the books so that we can move forward productively,” said Blackburn.
Coons said, “The No Fakes Act would take lessons from lots of existing state laws… and turn it into a national standard.”
This comes in response to incidents like an unauthorized AI-generated song featuring Drake and The Weeknd, which gained millions of views before its removal.
AI can also play a positive role in the music industry. It was key to reviving the Beatles song, “Now and Then,”which was released in 2023 after AI software was used to refurbish a demo by the late John Lennon, with the surviving Beatles’ endorsement.
“We just want to make sure that it’s done in a fair way,” Jimmy Jam said.