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Working Group on Technology and Artificial Intelligence

In this new digital and technological era of the music industry, it is important to stay up to date with emerging technologies and to realize which of these could become innovations within the music industry. This is why ECSA, in 2022, has created a Technology and Artificial Intelligence (Tech and AI) Working Group. The Working Group aims at identifying new and relevant technologies and online services which have or will have an impact on musical diversity and the remuneration of music authors.

Members of the Working Group on Technology and Artificial Intelligence

  • Panu Aaltio, Composer (Finland)
  • Étienne Forget, Composer (France)
  • Harald Hanisch, Composer (Austria)
  • Marek Hojda, Composer (Poland)
  • Anselm Kreuzer, Composers Club (Germany)
  • Arriën Molema, Songwriter and musician (The Netherlands)
  • Anna Neale, Composer and songwriter (The United Kingdom)
  • Žiga Stanič, Composer and musician (Slovenia)
  • Line Tjørnhøj, Composer (Denmark)

The Working Group held its first meeting in April 2022 and put forward a few topics in which members believe there is a need for change, among which: Metadata and Royalty collection, Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Music, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Metadata and Royalty Collection

The metadata issues are at the core of every composer not getting paid what they are owed. In fact, ECSA has been supporting a new pledge movement called Credits Due along with many other large players of the music industry such as BMG, PRS, Spotify, CIAM and more. This is an initiative which aims at bringing the music industry together to ensure that complete and accurate song metadata is attached to all recordings at the point of creation. The Tech and AI Working Group will be closely working together with the Music Streaming Working Group on this issue.

NFTs in Music

Many argue that NFTs are the future of music. Anything could be an NFT, from a copyright ownership sale, to a limited edition digital album sale, even to a concert ticket. The Working Group members have clearly agreed that there is a necessity to act quickly and to avoid right related issues or inequality of royalty sharing (as it has been the case in streaming) before it even happens. In fact, as of right now, there are not any specific rules or regulations on NFT regarding publishing royalties. The question the Tech and AI Working Group is also trying to answer is, do NFTs represent an interesting opportunity for emerging artists and newer talents that have a small number of followers? Or is it yet another innovation that allows the people on top to get richer but does not really help the so-called “long tail” of the music industry?

Artificial intelligence

The Working Group is having extensive discussions on whether AI is an opportunity or a threat to composers. Its main use which is being discussed in the Working Group is AI as a music creation tool. It is stated in the ECSA position paper on AI that AI is not “generating” music but rather “assisting” the creation process because it will always require someone feeding catalog into a neural network. Hence, we usually talk about AI assisted music as opposed to AI created music. The issue is to understand how copyright ownership should be distributed in cases in which music has been created thanks to AI. It has also been clearly stated that, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), copyright always has to be connected to a human. Furthermore, the most difficult part would be to prove if a piece is created by AI or not.