YouTube is making efforts to adapt to generative AI in music

YouTube Music widget for Android 13 on a Pixel 6
(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • YouTube announced today efforts to explore the impacts of generative AI on music.
  • These efforts include the development of music-related AI principles, as well as collaborations with the music industry in the "Music AI Incubator."
  • The company explains that it will "share more about specific technologies, monetization opportunities, and policies” in the next few months.

Many tech companies and brands have been working to adapt to the significant trend of generative AI. And now, YouTube is the latest brand to do so. 

The video and music-streaming platform announced efforts today to explore the impact that generative AI has on music by collaborating with the industry.

“Generative AI systems may amplify current challenges like trademark and copyright abuse, misinformation, spam, and more,” said YouTube CEO Neal Mohan in the announcement. “But AI can also be used to identify this sort of content, and we’ll continue to invest in the AI-powered technology that helps us protect our community of viewers, creators, artists and songwriters.”

At the moment, it’s really more of a high-level approach to how the brand is tackling generative AI, under the guidance of three music-related AI principles that YouTube developed. This is not unlike Google’s AI principles that it established back in 2018. 

As part of these new principles, YouTube Music "will embrace [AI] responsibly together with our music partners.” The second principle notes that while AI ushers a new age of creative expression, “it must include appropriate protections and unlock opportunities for music partners who decide to participate.” Finally, the third principle states that Google will scale its "industry-leading" content policies "to meet the challenges of AI."

As a starting point for its AI efforts, the company launched its Music AI Incubator — essentially, a group of musicians that “will help gather insights on generative AI experiments and research that are being developed at YouTube.” 

To that effect, the platform has partnered with the Universal Music Group in a collaborative effort for the AI Incubator. Named partners include Anitta, Björn Ulvaeus, d4vd, Don Was, Juanes, Louis Bell, Max Richter, Rodney Jerkins, Rosanne Cash, Ryan Tedder, Yo Gotti, and (the estate of) Frank Sinatra.

“Our challenge and opportunity as an industry is to establish effective tools, incentives and rewards — as well as rules of the road — that enable us to limit AI’s potential downside while promoting its promising upside,” Universal Music Group CEO Sir Lucian Grainge said in a statement about the partnership. “If we strike the right balance, I believe AI will amplify human imagination and enrich musical creativity in extraordinary new ways.” 

Beyond its AI principles and incubator, YouTube explains that — during the course of the next few months — it will “share more about specific technologies, monetization opportunities, and policies” that the platform is developing.” So, time will tell until we see more specifics on how the popular video and music-streaming platform is handling generative AI.