If the deal goes through, Hollywood vocalists and performers will probably be shielded from non-consensual AI manipulation until 2026. 

The SAG-AFTRA Executive Committee unanimously approved the tentative agreement on Wednesday, April 10, and it’ll now be sent to members for ratification. 

SAG-AFTRA represents a large proportion of the US’ creative workforce and was involved within the Hollywood strikes last 12 months. 

The tentative deal covers 2021 to 2026 and includes Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Disney Music Group. So, some audio recordings made before today extending back to 2021 will probably be protected. 

Under the terms of the agreement, the artist must provide explicit and unambiguous consent before releasing any sound recording featuring a digital reproduction of an artist’s voice.

Additionally, the agreement mandates that the artist receive a minimum level of compensation and is provided an in depth description of how their digitally replicated voice will probably be utilized in a recording.

If agreed, it’ll form a part of a brand new contract for the SAG-AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Sound Recordings.

It’s necessary to notice that while SAG-AFTRA covers singers and vocalists, instrumental musicians are covered by the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), so that they likely won’t be protected under this deal.

SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director & Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said, “SAG-AFTRA and the music industry’s largest record labels have reached a groundbreaking agreement establishing, for the primary time, collective bargaining guardrails assuring singers and recording artists ethical and responsible treatment in using artificial intelligence within the music industry.”

Crabtree-Ireland added, “This agreement ensures that our members are protected. SAG-AFTRA firmly believes that while technology can enhance the creative process, the essence of music must all the time be rooted in real human expression and experience. We stay up for working alongside our industry partners to foster an environment where innovation serves to raise, not diminish, the unique value of every artist’s contribution to our wealthy cultural tapestry.”

The Record Label Negotiating Committee was also positive, “We are pleased to achieve this agreement with SAG-AFTRA and proceed our strong partnership as we enter this exciting and fast-moving latest era for music and artists. Together, we’ll chart a successful course forward, embracing latest opportunities and facing our common challenges, strengthened by our shared values and commitment to human artistry.”

Musicians and performers face AI threats

Musicians and performers are wrestling with the rise of AI-generated text-to-music tools like Udio and Suno.

Suno has already been exposed for generating music remarkably much like international hits like ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” and Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”

Udio builds on Suno’s access, but again, it wasn’t long before songs gave themselves away as derivative from copyrighted works. 

The likelihood is 1000’s of copyrighted songs were used to coach these models. And as we’ve seen within the visual arts, creators aren’t consulted, neither is consent obtained. 

We’ve also observed the impacts of unauthorized mash-ups and remixes created with AI-generated copies of authentic melodies and vocals.

One AI mash-up of Drake and The Weeknd produced by “Ghost Producer” racked up billions of views across social media platforms and was banned by the Grammys. 

Musicians have been taking affirmative motion to guard their rights. 200 artists, including Billie Eilish, Stevie Wonder, and Katy Perry, stated their concerns in an open letter organized by the Artists’ Rights Alliance.

With this latest deal from SAG-AFTRA and record labels, we’ve seen the primary signs that record labels are willing to guard their artists’ rights. 

It’s a tentative step towards protecting artists and timely considering the discharge of Udio. However, 2026 will come around quickly, and AI tools can have definitely advanced by then.

Like SAG-AFTRA’s cope with film and TV producers, renegotiating favorable terms once this era expires may very well be much tougher.  

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This article was originally published at dailyai.com