The Music Giant Behind Beyoncé, Harry Styles and Adele Bars ChatGPT From Using Its Songs

Sony Music, the music publisher behind chart-topping musicians like Beyoncé, Harry Styles and Doja Cat, is making it clear that tech companies aren’t allowed to train AI models using its music — days after two leading companies announced new AI.
1715975046 Beyonce GettyImages 2123634082Beyoncé accepts the Innovator Award at the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Billboard via Getty Images)

In a letter viewed by Bloomberg, NBC News and BBC, Sony Music asked more than 700 companies to disclose if they used its songs to train AI and how they did so. Sony Music wants to know if these companies used even a snippet of a song in its catalog without permission.

The letter is Sony Music’s attempt to protect intellectual property, including the album cover art and the lyrics within each song.

The letter states that using the company’s music without permission means that it and its artists weren’t compensated or even aware that their work was being used in AI.

Intellectual property has been a central issue across industries as AI takes center stage.

Related: Billie Eilish, Elvis Costello, Jon Bon Jovi, and More Artists Rip Into ‘Predatory’ and ‘Catastrophic’ Use of AI in the Music Industry

Last month, more than 200 musicians and songwriters, including Billie Eilish and Katy Perry, signed a letter calling out “some of the biggest and most powerful companies” for using their work to train AI models without permission.

Tech companies have simultaneously made notable leaps in music AI. Google announced on Tuesday that it would offer musicians a host of AI tools designed specifically for them, and OpenAI’s Sora created its first music video two weeks ago.

Both companies have not publicly revealed the exact data sources that went into their AI models.

Related: OpenAI Reportedly Used More Than a Million Hours of YouTube Videos to Train Its Latest AI Model

Sony Music has managed to grow revenue even as AI inches on the stage. On Tuesday, Sony reported that Sony Music’s revenue was $11.05 billion in the fiscal year that ended on March 31 — a 16.9% increase from the previous year. The company attributed the growth to higher revenue from streaming subscriptions like Spotify.

In the final quarter of 2023, Sony Music’s biggest projects were SZA’s SOS, Travis Scott’s UTOPIA, and Rod Wave’s Nostalgia. These three albums generated the most global revenue for the company in that quarter.

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