With the artificial intelligence boom in full swing, 15-year-old British Phonographic Industry (BPI) boss Geoff Taylor has hired the first artificial intelligence EVP for Sony Music Entertainment (SME).
IFPI veteran Taylor, who said last August he would be leaving BPI in 2023 to “take a more direct commercial role,” officially announced his new position in a LinkedIn post today. Of course, this development comes as AI continues to play an increasingly important role in the industry, leading to numerous concerns about infringement as well as perceived revenue opportunities for the major labels and other big-name companies.
“I am delighted to announce that I have joined the brilliant team at Sony Music Entertainment to lead their global AI strategy,” Taylor wrote. “It’s the next exciting chapter in the evolution of the music business and it will be a privilege to work with so many talented colleagues to help Sony Music embrace this shift in a way that benefits its artists and songwriters.”
On the latter front, Sony Music and its big three labels are taking steps to stem the tide (or at least the spread) of AI releases. Echoing Universal Music Group (UMG) CEO Lucian Grainge’s comments about the start of 2023, SME CEO Rob Stringer claimed last month that streaming services had been “diluted by low quality and meaningless volume.”
And when it comes to allegedly infringing AI music — most notably unauthorized soundalike tracks — the majors have been quick to enforce removals from streaming services, and are reportedly developing a takedown notification system with leading platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Additionally, certain up-and-coming streaming providers are now targeting fans who want to listen to the aforementioned AI-powered soundalike projects.
But beyond this and related efforts to counter the plethora of both legal and allegedly infringing AI music, the majors have also sought to capitalize on the unprecedented technology. For example, before Taylor joined SME, Universal Music announced a partnership deal with relaxation app Endel a month ago.
As part of the union, Endel and UMG said they would use AI to create “both new music and new versions of catalog music” – with executives emphasizing “the incredible potential of ethical AI”. In April 2022, long before the Endel collaboration was finalized and all kinds of AI media spilled into the entertainment landscape, Universal Music, along with Disney, Microsoft and others, powered music platform Soundful with artificial intelligence.