ASCAP CEO says “AI doesn’t scare us” as AI-focused initiatives take shape

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Photo credit: ASCAP

ASCAP says it has a number of AI initiatives in the pipeline to help music creators navigate the future while protecting their work.

These newly announced initiatives include introducing key AI principles, educating developers, and founding and developing policies for startups. ASCAP plans to build on the PRO non-profit organization’s track record of success with technological advances, industry advocacy and music royalty growth.

“ASCAP has been adapting to disruptions for more than 100 years,” said Elizabeth Matthews, CEO of ASCAP. “AI doesn’t scare us because we see technology as an opportunity for innovation for our fellow songwriters, composers and publishers. The future is bright and we don our helmets to lead the fight to protect the rights of music creators.”

“As the only US professional that puts the creator first, ASCAP always puts our members at the center of everything we do, and listening to them informs our strategy.” adds Nick Lehman, ASCAP’s Chief Strategy & Digital Officer. “Our members tell us they want ASCAP to help them deal with technological disruptions, advocate for better regulation around AI, and seek compensation when their music is used in AI-generated content.”

Here’s a quick look at some of the 2023 AI initiatives in the ASCAP pipeline.

The 2023 ASCAP Lab Music & AI Challenge aims to identify creative, innovative concepts at the intersection of music and artificial intelligence and enable ASCAP to work closely with the tech community to advance the development and application of this groundbreaking technology for the benefit of music creators.

Five teams were selected to receive grants and mentoring to develop and expand their new technologies during the 12-week challenge. Here’s a look at this year’s teams competing against each other.

PREACHER is a comprehensive AI system that composes, arranges, orchestrates, and produces authentic, high-quality, and original music with emotional and narrative awareness – specifically for composers for video games, the metaverse, digital worlds, and more.

Infinite Album uses AI to continuously generate copyrighted video game music that is responsive to gameplay in real-time and can be customized by players and viewers in a collaborative, interactive, and monetizable way.

Overture Games develops video games for beginner musicians, designed to make practice more fun and reduce burnout/cessation by using AI-based pitch detection to provide responsive visual feedback based on the musician’s playing.

Samplifi combines classic digital signal processing techniques with the latest advances in AI to isolate and enhance the auditory information needed for harmonic orientation within a piece of music. It makes it easier for hearing-impaired musicians to navigate the world of sound.

Sounds. Studio by Never Before Heard Sounds is a browser-based music production platform that uses AI to make producing music faster and more accessible with assistive tools like stem splitting, vocal conversion, timbre mapping, and automatic song alignment.

ASCAP AI Principles and Advocacy

ASCAP continues to be at the forefront of policy making regarding AI in the areas of copyright and licensing. The ASCAP Board of Directors has adopted a number of key principles that guide the organization’s response to AI. These principles are:

  • Human creators first | Prioritization of rights and compensation for human creativity.
  • transparency | Identification of AI vs. human-made works and storage of metadata.
  • approval | Required to authorize works for inclusion in an AI training license.
  • Damage payment | Willing buyer, willing seller, license framework.
  • credit | When the creators’ works are used to produce new AI-generated music.
  • Global Consistency | A level playing field that values ​​intellectual property around the world.

Committed to ensuring its 920,000+ members are heard in DC policy debates, briefings and roundtables, ASCAP will educate and mobilize its members to protect their musical contributions.