With the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) to create both massive disruption and great opportunity within the music industry, ASCAP — the only US PRO that operates on a not-for-profit basis — is introducing a slate of AI initiatives to help music creators navigate the future while protecting their work. These newly announced initiatives include: adoption by the ASCAP Board of Directors of a set of key ASCAP AI principles, creator education, startup incubation and policy development. Building upon ASCAP’s strong track record of technology advances, industry advocacy and music royalty growth, these initiatives place ASCAP at the forefront of exploring and shaping the future of music and AI.
“ASCAP has been adapting to disruption for more than 100 years. AI doesn’t scare us because we see technology as an opportunity to innovate for our songwriter, composer and music publisher members. The future is bright and we have our helmets on to fight the fight to protect the rights of music creators.” said ASCAP Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Matthews.
“As the only creator-first US PRO, ASCAP always places our members at the core of everything we do and listening to them informs our strategy,” said ASCAP Chief Strategy & Digital Officer Nick Lehman. “Our members are telling us that they want ASCAP to help them navigate technology disruption, advocate for better regulation in AI and pursue compensation if their music is used in AI-generated content.”
With the following AI initiatives, ASCAP plans to educate and inspire its members, champion music creator rights and help shape how new technologies are deployed and licensed across industry sectors:
2023 ASCAP Lab/NYC Media Lab Music and AI Challenge
In 2019, ASCAP launched the ASCAP Lab to drive innovation for its next century of growth. The multi-pronged effort is designed to explore how advanced technologies, new business approaches and creative collaboration can drive value for ASCAP music creator members and licensees. In each of the last three years, the ASCAP Lab has run an accelerator program in partnership with the NYC Media Lab, led by the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, exploring new technologies such as the metaverse, augmented reality, spatial audio and computer vision, helping to incubate more than a dozen startups and university research projects.
The 2023 ASCAP Lab Music and AI Challenge is designed to identify creative, cutting-edge concepts at the intersection of music and artificial intelligence, enabling ASCAP to work closely with the tech community to help guide the development and application of this game-changing technology for the benefit of music creators. Five teams have been selected to receive grants and mentorship to develop and expand upon their emerging technologies during the 12-week challenge. The ASCAP Lab and NYC Media Lab are excited to announce this year’s teams:
DAACI is a comprehensive AI system that composes, arranges, orchestrates and produces authentic, high-quality and original music with emotional and narrative awareness, especially for composers for video games, the metaverse, digital worlds and dynamic virtual experiences. https://daaci.com/
Infinite Album uses AI to generate continuous copyright-safe video game music that can react to game play in real time and can be customized by gamers and viewers in collaborative, interactive and monetizable ways. www.infinitealbum.io
Overture Games builds video games for beginner musicians designed to make practicing more fun and reduce burnout/quitting by using AI-based pitch detection to provide responsive visual feedback based on the musician’s playing. www.overture.games
Samplifi combines classical digital signal processing techniques with the latest advances in AI to isolate and enhance the auditory information needed to harmonically orient oneself within a piece of music, making the sonic world easier to navigate for hearing-impaired musicians. www.samplifi.net
Sounds.Studio by Never Before Heard Sounds is a browser-based music production platform that leverages AI to make producing music faster and more accessible with assistive tools like stem splitting, vocal conversion, timbre transfer and automatic song alignment. www.sounds.studio
Throughout and after the 12-week challenge, the teams will share their stories, progress and innovations with ASCAP members, some of whom will be involved in the mentoring and beta-testing processes of the program. More information on the ASCAP Lab and the 2023 teams can be found at www.ascaplab.com.
The ASCAP Experience, June 21
The ASCAP Experience, ASCAP’s signature event created to inspire, educate and connect songwriters and composers, will host a panel dedicated to AI in Los Angeles on June 21. “Intelligently Navigating Artificial Intelligence” brings together knowledgeable experts from the creative, tech and business fields for a state-of-the-union on AI in music. The session will educate ASCAP member attendees on the potential of AI to change how music is made and consumed, how ASCAP is addressing these evolving opportunities and challenges and how to make informed decisions about using AI tools while protecting one’s intellectual property. Panelists include:
- Lucas Cantor, Composer, ASCAP member
- Rachel Lyske, CEO of DAACI
- Nicholas Lehman, Chief Strategy & Digital Officer, ASCAP
More information about the ASCAP Experience is available at www.ascapexperience.com.
ASCAP AI Symposium, July 19
On July 19, following its Annual Meeting in New York City, ASCAP will present a half-day symposium on AI that dives deep into the broad range of opportunities and issues catalyzed by the proliferation of AI applications in the music industry. Details on the event’s speakers and panels will be announced soon. The ASCAP AI Symposium will be open to ASCAP members only.
ASCAP AI Principles and Advocacy
ASCAP remains at the forefront of policy making with respect to AI in the areas of copyright and licensing, and the ASCAP Board of Directors has adopted a set of key ASCAP principles guiding the organization’s response to AI. Those principles are:
- Human Creators First: Prioritizing rights and compensation for human creativity
- Transparency: In identifying AI vs. human-generated works and retaining metadata
- Consent: Required to authorize works for inclusion in an AI training license
- Compensation / Free Market: Willing buyer, willing seller licensing framework
- Credit: When creators’ works are utilized to produce new AI-generated music
- Global Consistency: An even playing field that values intellectual property globally
ASCAP is working to ensure that its over 920,000 members are heard in DC policy debates, briefings and roundtables and will educate and mobilize its members to protect their musical contributions.