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Zooming out on legislation - WR #188
Weekly Roundups
November 17, 2023

Zooming out on legislation - WR #188

This week has been about taking a step back to see exactly what legislation should look like among the big names of the music industry. From AI regulation to streaming business models, let’s see what was on the radar.

#1. Warner Music Group joins Deezer’s Artist-centric royalties system in France

Deezer expanded its artist-centric remuneration system in France, gaining support from Warner Music Group (WMG) after a partnership with Universal Music Group (UMG). Alain Veille, president of Warner Music France, expressed support for the Deezer model, highlighting the commitment to evolving streaming platforms’ business models. According to official communications, the system rewards professional and engaging artists, demonetizes non-musical content, and provides measures against streaming fraud. Despite industry criticism, the partnership with WMG reinforces the global roll-out of the artist-centric model, despite opposition from some players in the music sector.

Let’s not forget, Spotify is also rolling out its own (very similar) two-tier compensation model (alongside similar criticism of being ‘offensive and discriminatory’). With Deezer gearing up for its global rollout of the model in 2024, the future looks promising for ‘artist-centric’ royalties and a ‘two-tier’ system of payouts.

#2. Bandlab announced its distribution expansion

BandLab entered the competitive distribution market through an expanded agreement with FUGA of Downtown Music. The platform, owned by BandLab Technologies, recently announced distribution plans after a partnership with Universal Music. The community, which gathers more than 60 million artists, can now distribute its works on platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and TikTok.

BandLab emphasizes its role as the first mobile music creation application, allowing artists to create and broadcast effortlessly. The platform aims at empowering artists globally and streamlining the creative process to appeal to a wide range of creators. CEO Meng Kuok sees digital music distribution as an important step in fulfilling their mission to empower creators at every step.

#3. The impact of AI on the value of digital content 

The future of generative AI is promising, but copyright infringement litigati is casting a shadow over the sector (as Universal Music and Anthropic demonstrated). Generative AI companies object to payment for training on copyrighted works, putting the onus on end users. The lawsuits highlight the potential for AIs to replace original works.

Global licenses could be a potential solution, allowing rights holders to obtain remuneration while limiting the financial impact on AI companies. However, technical challenges and questions relating to individual profitability persist. In addition, the overabundance of online content diminishes its perceived value, anticipating a return to real experiences. While a solution to the problem of copyright in generative AI is needed, rights holders should consider revenue models beyond the digital world.

#4. TikTok strikes partnership with Spotify and Amazon Music

TikTok has unveiled a new feature called "Add to Music App", which allows users to save discovered songs directly to streaming services such as Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music. In collaboration with leading streaming platforms, the feature aims to seamlessly link music discovery on the app to the full listening experience on users' preferred services. Launched initially in the US and UK, the tool creates a direct link between TikTok's influential music discoveries and users' consumption on established music streaming platforms.

This development comes as TikTok expands its presence in the premium streaming sector with TikTok Music. The "Add to Music App" button will appear in TikTok videos, offering users a convenient way to connect to the music streaming service of their choice and further integrate their music exploration into the platform.

#5. YouTube is clamping down on AI generated clones of superstars 

YouTube is developing a system to remove AI-generated music content that imitates artists' voices. The system, which will initially be available to labels and distributors participating in YouTube's AI-generated music experiments, aims to address concerns about AI-generated artist clones. YouTube's collaboration with Universal Music Group (UMG) includes an "AI music incubator" involving artists such as Anitta, Björn Ulvaeus, Louis Bell and Max Richter. The platform plans to extend access to other labels and distributors in the coming months. YouTube will evaluate takedown requests on the basis of factors such as reporting, analysis or criticism of synthetic voices. 

In addition, creators must label AI-generated content, and YouTube is investigating tools to detect and enforce disclosure requirements. The platform focuses on balancing the benefits of AI with community safety.

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