Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, has affirmed that there are no immediate plans to completely prohibit content generated by artificial intelligence (AI) on the music streaming platform. Earlier this year, Spotify removed a track featuring AI-cloned voices of artists Drake and The Weeknd.
Mr. Ek explained to the BBC that while there are valid applications for AI in music creation, it should not be used to impersonate human artists without their consent. He acknowledged that the role of AI in music would be a topic of debate for years to come.
He categorized AI use into three groups:
- Tools like auto-tune that enhance music, which he found acceptable.
- Tools that mimic artists, which he deemed unacceptable.
- A more contentious middle ground where AI-generated music is influenced by existing artists but does not directly impersonate them.
Mr. Ek acknowledged the complexity of these challenges, especially in a music industry increasingly affected by AI.
Spotify does not permit its content to be used for training machine learning or AI models that can generate music. Many artists have voiced concerns about the impact of AI on the creative industry, with some, like Hozier, considering taking action against it.
The removal of AI-generated content from Spotify in the past, such as the Drake and The Weeknd clone track “Heart on My Sleeve,” highlighted the need for vigilance in detecting and addressing such issues. Mr. Ek emphasized that Spotify has a dedicated team working on these challenges.
Additionally, Mr. Ek discussed Spotify’s substantial investment in podcasts, including those from high-profile individuals like Michelle and Barack Obama and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. While some podcast ventures have succeeded, others have not, underscoring the platform’s ambition to compete in the podcasting arena.
Mr. Ek also mentioned Spotify’s support for forthcoming regulations like the Online Safety Bill and the Digital Markets Bill, aimed at enhancing online safety and promoting competition among tech giants. He reiterated his concerns about the dominance of Apple and Google’s app stores, particularly their commission rates, which have been a source of contention between Spotify and these tech giants.