UK Music urges UK government to ensure that AI firms 'do not crush human creativity'

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has warned that the rapid advance of AI poses many 'difficult questions'.

Sam Moore
  • By Sam Harteam Moore
  • 12 Jul 2023
  • min read

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has urged the UK government to ensure that artificial intelligence (AI) firms do not 'crush the human creativity' of the UK's music industry.

The intervention comes amid rising concerns about the potentially devastating impact AI could have on human creativity, copyright law and the development of the next generation of musicians, writers and music professionals.

Writing in an open letter to Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, Jamie said that while the benefits of AI to music and other sectors should be welcomed, he cautioned that AI's rapid advancements also pose a number of 'difficult questions' that the government must address.

'As an industry, we are excited about some of the opportunities that AI offers and want to work with the technology sector to help seize these opportunities,' he said. 'However, it is not acceptable for creators’ work or their identity to be used by AI developers without their consent. Taking other people’s work without their permission contravenes basic principles of property rights, undermining both creator incomes and the economic model that has enabled the UK to build a world-leading music industry.'

Jamie added: 'It is important to stress that the music industry has good relations with the technology sector, and we are proud of the many positive relationships and partnerships we have built with technology companies. But in trying to seize the opportunities of AI, it’s vital that we do not allow some AI firms to crush the human creativity that is the beating heart and soul of our world-leading music industry.'

'It is not acceptable for creators’ work or their identity to be used by AI developers without their consent.'

The letter also shares UK Music's five-point plan that the organisation and its members - which includes PRS for Music, BPI and AIM - are calling on the government to adopt when approaching the issue of AI regulation.

These principles centre around creators' choice (with the creator or rights holder being able to to decide if and how they want to use their creative talent), record keeping (which would ensure that 'technology providers keep an auditable record of the music ingested before the algorithm generates new music'), labelling music generated by AI as such, protection of personality rights and preserving the notion that 'without human creativity, there should be no copyright'.

Stressing that it is 'absolutely critical we develop AI technologies in a way that enhances and enables human artistry rather than eroding it', Jamie added in the open letter that he 'strongly welcomes the Government’s identification of the creative industries as one of the five key growth sectors for the UK'.

'As we look to unlock the potential of the creative industries, we must ensure the music industry and the tech sector grow in partnership, and the right guardrails are in place as we develop our AI sector.'