OpenAI CEO Sam Altman says creators “need to benefit from AI” — but his company “still talks to artists and content owners about what they want”

Photo credit: Jonathan Kemper

As artificial intelligence continues to play an increasingly important role in the music industry, Sam Altman has shared that members of the creative community “deserve control over how their creations are used” and “need to benefit from AI”. However, the OpenAI CEO decided not to offer any concrete solutions for possible compensation for musicians.

Altman made these and other notable remarks in the past few hours hearing in the Senate to regulate artificial intelligence. In music in particular, AI is powering all manner of unauthorized sound-alike tracks, a growing collection of artist (and label) sanctioned sound-alike releases, and perhaps most importantly, millions and millions of original songs.

Against this backdrop, the big labels are reportedly coordinating on an AI “takedown notice” scheme, with the European Union preparing a gargantuan “AI law” that some MPs say would effectively oversee the unprecedented technology.

Meanwhile, the rapidly evolving situation prompted Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who alerted Live Nation CFO Joe Berchtold to the start of 2023 and is a co-sponsor of the industry-popular American Music Fairness Act as well as the Spotify-approved Open App Markets Act – to ask how musicians can control whether their work is used to train AI models.

“And I want to reach out to you on the subject of music and content creation,” Senator Blackburn said, “because we have a lot of songwriters and artists — I think we have.” the best creative community on earth. You are in Tennessee. And they should be able to decide If Their copyrighted songs and images are used to train these models.

“And I’m worried about the OpenAI jukebox. It features some Garth Brooks-style reinterpretations, suggesting that OpenAI is trained on Garth Brooks songs. I walked in this weekend and I said, “Write me a song that sounds like Garth Brooks.” And it gave me a different version of “Simple Man.” So it’s interesting that it would do that.

“But you train it on these copyrighted songs, these MIDI files, these sound technologies. So if you do, who owns the rights to this AI-generated material? And could I use your technology to remake a song, put in content from my favorite artist, and then own the creative rights to that song?”

“Thanks, Senator,” former Reddit CEO Altman replied. “This is an area of ​​great interest for us. I would say, first off, we believe creators deserve control over how their creations are used and what happens in the world after their creations are released. Second, I think that with this new technology, we need to find new ways for creatives to win, thrive, and live vibrant lives. And I am optimistic that this will be the case.”

When pressed by lawmakers for how his company would “compensate the artist,” Altman pointed out that OpenAI is currently working with musicians and disclosed that he was unfamiliar with SoundExchange.

“Can you commit, as you have done with consumer data, not to train ChatGPT, OpenAI, Jukebox or other AI models on copyrighted works of artists and songwriters? Or use their voices and likeness without first obtaining their consent?” Then Senator Blackburn asked.

Altman then elaborated on Jukebox’s classification specifics (“not a product we sell, that was a research publication”), prompting the senator to remind him that “we lived through Napster,” which, she reiterated, “really Cost” Many artists, a lot of money.”

Concluding her speech, Senator Blackburn shifted focus to potential copyright protections, including compensation for AI music originating from protected media. And while Altman’s response to the latter was cut short when another lawmaker began asking questions about various artificial intelligence topics, the OpenAI chief shared that “content creators … need to benefit from this technology.”

“To reiterate my earlier point,” Altman said, “we believe content creators and content owners need to capitalize on this technology.” That’s the economic model — we’re still talking to artists and content owners about what they want. I think there are many ways this can happen. But what is clear is that whatever the law, it is right to ensure that people benefit significantly from this new technology. And we believe that it really will achieve that.”