ABBA singer calls for better protection for musicians against AI during Belgian visit
ABBA singer Björn Ulvaeus appealed for better protection of composer's copyrights at the European level during a meeting with Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo o Wednesday. They discussed the impact of artificial intelligence on the music industry.
With Belgium at the helm of the rotating presidency of the European Council, Ulvaeus visited De Croo with representatives of the Belgian Authors' Association Sabam.
Ulvaeus, currently president of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, expressed the concern musicians have about the implementation of AI and its effect on the cultural sector. The technology is in a grey zone legally in relation to rights and remuneration for artists. AI bases its musical compositions on work by humans, resulting in an ongoing debate about who profits from the creations.
In May, Universal Music Group threatened legal action if streaming services used their artists' music without proper compensation. This resulted in Spotify removing 7 per cent, or tens of thousands of songs of AI-generated music, from its platform.
Ulvaeus is not opposed to AI in certain conditions he said. "AI is great for artists and songwriters, but those AI models come about through existing, protected music, and for that, we have to pay," he said. "Europe must now be the leader in better protection for authors. It is urgent."
"It is normal for artists to be paid for the music that serves as input for AI models," said De Croo. "The European AI Act is close to reaching an agreement. Many of the elements discussed today are already there."
Ulvaeus expressed satisfaction after the meeting, saying, "The Belgian prime minister is very well informed and listened well to our arguments. This was a very fruitful discussion."
© BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM / © BELGA VIDEO MAARTEN WEYNANTS