Universal Music Group Among Major Labels Suing AI Music Startups For Violating Copyright Laws

Universal Music Group Among Major Labels Suing AI Music Startups For Violating Copyright Laws

The battle between artificial intelligence (AI) software and the music industry continues in a new lawsuit against two AI music startups. 

Top record labels Universal Music Group (UMG), Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Records are accusing AI music creation programs Suno Inc. and Udio AI of “massive and ongoing infringement.” The lawsuit claims that the entities “copied sound recordings from the labels ‘en masse and ingested them into its AI model,’” a practice that the plaintiffs say violates copyright laws, Forbes reports.

Moreover, Suno and Udio AI are accused of using artists’ songs to “train their AI services.” In the suit against Suno, the filings allege that if the company hadn’t “violated copyrights on such a large scale, Suno’s service would not be able to reproduce the convincing imitations of such a vast range of human musical expression at the quality that Suno touts.”

Similarly, the accusations against Udio AI hold some of the same weight, noting that “since the day it launched, Udio has flouted the rights of copyright owners in the music industry as part of a mad dash to become the dominant AI music generation service.”

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier said in a press release that the music industry has not only embraced the new technology but is partnering to create AI tools “centered on human creativity that put artists and songwriters in charge.” However, he adds that services like Suno and Udio AI that “copy an artist’s life’s work and exploit it for their own profit without consent or pay set back the promise of genuinely innovative AI for us all.”

As AFROTECH™ previously reported, this is not the first time that AI technology has raised concerns within the music industry. In April 2023, UMG pulled a viral AI-generated track featuring the replicated voices of The Weeknd and Drake from streaming services. By January 2024, the renowned music label announced its intention to pull music from TikTok, citing ethical concerns around AI in its list of complaints.

UMG has since returned its catalog to the social media platform, but now it is taking a greater stance in the fight against AI. 

As of May, Suno says 10 million people have used its platform to make music, per Forbes. The Udio AI software was used to create “BBL Drizzy” in the ongoing infamous feud between Drake and Kendrick Lamar. Metro Boomin’s beat for the track, which was released in May, used Udio AI to make the “vocals, melody, and instrumental of the sample,” though the producer wasn’t aware AI was involved at the time.

While the labels are not fans of AI-generated music, musician has called Udio AI “a brand-new Renaissance” and “the tool for this era’s creativity,” according to the outlet.

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