Sony Music CEO says streaming services are “diluted” by low quality and meaningless volume

Credit: Andrik Langfield

Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer says streaming services have a meaningless volume problem, promoting what he calls low-quality content alongside big-name artists like Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, Harry Styles and SZA.

“We have to take care of the top-notch artists at the top of our business,” Stringer told investors during a Sony Corp presentation.Business Unit Meeting‘ for his music business. According to Stringer, the company is asking DSPs to implement stricter regulations on their platforms to filter out “poor quality content” and streaming fraud. Stringer also suggests moving to a new payment model to incentivize fraud and low-quality content.

“At Sony Music, our focus is always on identifying quality – not just quantity – as we face competition from many investors and new ventures looking to capitalize on sheer volume,” Stringer said during the presentation. “We believe that consumers want the same quality and continue to worry that DSPs will be diluted with poor quality and meaningless volume, negatively impacting music fans and true artists.”

“Additionally, as publicly reported, fraud at key DSPs is an issue that needs to be addressed through aggressive enforcement by those DSPs and distributors, or by changing payout methods to better reduce the incentive for fraud,” Stringer concludes.

Part of the problem is how easy it is to use generative AI to create music mashups that “sound” like they’re official releases. That’s because these AI models have been trained on an artist’s voice — usually without their permission. According to Stringer, Sony Music is doing everything in its power to protect its artists while this emerging technology is on the rise.

“We are now at the beginning of a completely new technological age with artificial intelligence,” says Stringer. “And unsurprisingly, music will be a central part of this process. AI promises to give us tools to help our artists and writers create better and innovate. But it also heralds greater insights from machine learning and potential new licensing channels and opportunities for commercial exploitation.”

“Certainly there are many opportunities in this area to be excited about throughout (Sony Music). However, we are also aware of the challenges that lie ahead. We will protect our creators at every possible level, be it creative, financial, or legal. Violation and unauthorized use of their rights should be the basis for an industry-unique new package to protect artists and songwriters. Technology does not simply override art.”