Our principles for partnering with the music industry on AI technology
Aug 21, 2023 – minute read
Today, AI is moving at a pace faster than ever before. It’s empowering creativity, sparking new ideas, and even transforming industries. At this critical inflection point, it’s clear that we need to boldly embrace this technology with a continued commitment to responsibility. With that in mind, over the past few months I’ve spent time talking with AI experts working across YouTube as well as leaders in one of the most influential and creative forces in the world: the music industry.
For nearly our entire history, YouTube and music have been inextricably linked. As a hosting platform, YouTube connected fans worldwide and quickly became home for iconic music videos and breakout artists. Our deep partnership with the music industry has enabled us to innovate and evolve together — building products, features and experiences, from our YouTube Music and Premium subscription services, to global livestreaming capabilities, that spur originality and bring communities of fans even closer together. And core to our shared success has been the protection of these creative works and copyrights of artists.
Now, we’re working closely with our music partners, including Universal Music Group, to develop an AI framework to help us work toward our common goals. These three fundamental AI principles serve to enhance music’s unique creative expression while also protecting music artists and the integrity of their work.
In 2023 alone, there have been more than 1.7 billion views of videos related to generative AI tools on YouTube.
Advancements in generative AI are no longer a future promise. Millions of people already embrace it in their day-to-day lives, from finding useful information to increasing creativity and productivity. And YouTube creators in particular have embraced AI to streamline and boost their creative processes. In 2023 alone, there have been more than 1.7 billion views of videos related to AI tools on YouTube.
As generative AI unlocks ambitious new forms of creativity, YouTube and our partners across the music industry agree to build on our long collaborative history and responsibly embrace this rapidly advancing field. Our goal is to partner with the music industry to empower creativity in a way that enhances our joint pursuit of responsible innovation.
To that end, we are addressing this opportunity head on. Today, we’re introducing YouTube’s Music AI Incubator. The incubator will help inform YouTube’s approach as we work with some of music's most innovative artists, songwriters, and producers across the industry, across a diverse range of culture, genres, and experience.
To kick off the program, we’re working with Universal Music Group - a leader in the space - and their incredible roster of talent.
To kick off the program, we’re working with Universal Music Group - a leader in the space - and their incredible roster of talent. This includes global superstar Anitta, internationally renowned and revered songwriter, producer and entrepreneur Björn Ulvaeus, innovative genre-defying artist d4vd, acclaimed musician, composer and producer Don Was, Colombian sensation Juanes, hitmaking producer Louis Bell, visionary composer Max Richter, influential songwriter and producer Rodney Jerkins, iconic singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, 3x Grammy award-winning songwriter and producer, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, acclaimed rapper, multi platinum musician, entrepreneur and philanthropist Yo Gotti, and the estate of American musical icon Frank Sinatra, amongst others. This talented group will help gather insights on generative AI experiments and research that are being developed at YouTube. We’re also excited to welcome our partners across the industry into the program as we move forward. Working together, we will better understand how these technologies can be most valuable for artists and fans, how they can enhance creativity, and where we can seek to solve critical issues for the future.
We’re continuing our strong track record of protecting the creative work of artists on YouTube. We’ve made massive investments over the years in the systems that help balance the interests of copyright holders with those of the creative community on YouTube.
Content ID, our best-in-class rights management technology, ensures rights holders get paid for use of their content and has generated billions for the industry over the years. A new era of generated content is here, and it gives us an opportunity to reimagine and evolve again. We’re eager to further build on our focus of helping artists and creators make money on YouTube and will continue to do so in collaboration with our partners.
We’ll continue to invest in the AI-powered technology that helps us protect our community of viewers, creators, artists and songwriters – from Content ID, to policies and detection and enforcement systems that keep our platform safe behind the scenes.
We spent years investing in the policies and trust and safety teams that help protect the YouTube community, and we’re also applying these safeguards to AI-generated content. One example is our policies prohibiting certain technically manipulated content. That means on YouTube, you can’t upload a video that’s been technically manipulated to promote false claims or mislead viewers about an atrocity in a way that could lead to serious risk of harm. And we will continue to iterate and evolve to meet new challenges.
But now, the limitless potential of generative AI demands a thoughtful approach that maps to the expansive boundaries of creative expression. Generative AI systems may amplify current challenges like trademark and copyright abuse, misinformation, spam, and more. But AI can also be used to identify this sort of content, and we’ll continue to invest in the AI-powered technology that helps us protect our community of viewers, creators, artists and songwriters – from Content ID, to policies and detection and enforcement systems that keep our platform safe behind the scenes. And we commit to scaling this work even further.
These three principles are a critical part of our overall approach to AI at YouTube. In the months ahead, we’ll share more about specific technologies, monetization opportunities, and policies we’re developing. And we’ll continue to talk with additional partners about how to broaden our efforts.
I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity of AI to supercharge creativity around the world, but recognize that YouTube and the promise of AI will only be successful if our partners are successful. Together, we can embrace this new technology in a way that supports artists, songwriters, producers, and the industry as a whole while driving value for fans and pushing the bounds of what’s creatively possible.
The principles in our framework – embracing AI, granting protections while unlocking opportunity, and investing in our trust and safety work – provide a strong foundation for YouTube and the music industry to better navigate the world ahead.
— Neal Mohan, CEO, YouTube