Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., warned Tuesday that artificial intelligence is making it harder for songwriters and other artists — particularly women — to win exposure and have a career in the entertainment industry.
In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing aimed at regulating AI, Blackburn asked witnesses how Congress can ensure songwriters, musicians, artists and entertainers can still generate revenue as AI algorithms and cloning technologies threaten their work.
“To them, it is an absolute way that they are robbing them of their ability to make a living off of their creative works,” Blackburn said.
Blackburn said generative AI cloning of voices and melodies by OpenAI’s Jukebox is one way artists are being hurt. Jukebox says it is a “neural net that generates music, including rudimentary singing, as raw audio in a variety of genres and artist styles.”
Blackburn says that because this experimental tech can be trained to imitate individual artists, AI is threatening to rob artists of their ability to be compensated.
Another example Blackburn noted was highlighted by country icon Martina McBride. Blackburn said McBride attempted to build a playlist on the music streaming service Spotify, which uses AI to generate a playlist based on a selected genre by the user.
McBride said she had to request a generated playlist 13 times before a female artist was included on the list.
“You look at the power of AI to shape what people are hearing … If you’ve got these algorithmically AI-generated playlists that cuts out new artists or females or certain sounds, then you are limiting some of someone’s potential.” Blackburn said at the hearing.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Blackburn added that the threat to artists and entertainers also stems from “the Chinese Communist Party’s rapid development and utilization of AI.”
“Chinese companies like ByteDance are working on AI music creation to potentially steal and replicate content created by American talent. We must ensure that all artists have a fair shot at being promoted based on their talent and success as they do in Music City,” she said.
Professor Stuart Russell of Oxford University agreed the issue is “very important” and that law “simply wasn’t ready for this kind of thing to be possible.”
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