The “jukebox that pays,” the major label’s Frankenstein, Spotify, is about to bite its enabler/creator (the major labels) in the ass. I saw some disquieting news today I thought I’d share. Spotify is planning to hire the Artificial Intelligence expert, Francois Pachet.
Francois is currently in charge of Sony Music’s Artificial Intelligence research for the last 20 years. He has been Director of the Sony Computer Science Laboratory. He is allowing his contract to expire and sign a deal with Spotify. Under his leadership at Sony, several AI-created compositions have been created and published. I’m not going to dignify these compositions by discussing them here.
I’ve written about how pedestrian this music sounded before, but I’d like to comment on a disturbing trend. Spotify supposedly engaged in fake artist/playlist creation to reduce royalty payments. Combine that with recent comments by Francois. When he spoke at Buma Music In Motion, friends of mine told me he felt: AI-written music inherently shouldn’t require any royalties to be paid to copyright holders after it is published.
And now he’s tasked with creating a toolbox for Spotify creators.
This can only mean Spotify wants to create a class of “lesser royalty status compositions,” eliminating the human incentive to create new music, therefore reducing the overhead by adding them to playlists.
As someone who made music in the golden age of recorded music, 1971-1984, I should embrace listening to a Muzak version of my era. But I don’t. At first I hoped AI and music would allow people to create music w/o years of instrument mastery, but now I’m afraid the role of AI will be subverted by business interests to avoid paying humans for music, and figuring out how to find and fool the truly passive music fan into listening to “royalty-free” music.