Spotify refuses to ban AI music, says boss Daniel Ek

Music made either fully or partially by AI won't soon be banned on the Spotify platform, Daniel Ek told BBC News.

spotify ceo daniel ek says ai music will not be banned on the platform

While the Spotify CEO said navigating the use of technology on the service “is going to be tricky,” there are no plans to ban the use of AI outright in the current climate.

According to NME, Ek said he felt there were three categories of AI use in music:

  • Tools like auto-tune to improve music, which he believed were acceptable
  • Tools that mimic human artists, which he said were not
  • A more contentious middle ground where music created by AI was clearly influenced by existing acts but did not directly impersonate them

That second point has proved especially relevant in 2023, when AI was used to release a fake collab between Drake and The Weeknd, which was then submitted for Grammy consideration.

READ MORE: How is artificial intelligence going to change music?

“You can imagine someone uploading a song, claiming to be Madonna, even if they’re not,” Ek said. “We’ve seen pretty much everything in the history of Spotify at this point with people trying to game our system.”

“We have a very large team that is working on exactly these types of issues.”

Despite his comments, at the moment, Spotify still does not allow AI models to use its content for training purposes. The technology has split opinion in the music world, with Nick Cave raging against the use of AI to mimic his style back in January, while Paul McCartney praised its limited use in allowing him to release an unfinished Beatles song.

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