The Brag Media
News August 22, 2023

As YouTube Publishes AI Principles, UMG’s Lucian Grainge Talks Potential to ‘Amplify Human Imagination’

Senior Journalist, B2B
As YouTube Publishes AI Principles, UMG’s Lucian Grainge Talks Potential to ‘Amplify Human Imagination’

Universal Music Group chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge can see the good and bad in artificial intelligence.

The positives, he reckons, will far outweigh the negatives — provided the tech industry and its content partners “strike the right balance”.

Grainge, the world’s most powerful music executive, penned a rare blog on AI, as YouTube, the world’s leading music video streaming platform, publishes its first-ever set of AI music principles.

Unveiled overnight, YouTube’s three core principles were shaped with UMG and its leader Grainge, who shares his own vision for how this controversial technology could be an asset for creatives.

“Our challenge and opportunity as an industry is to establish effective tools, incentives and rewards – as well as rules of the road – that enable us to limit AI’s potential downside while promoting its promising upside,” he writes.

“If we strike the right balance, I believe AI will amplify human imagination and enrich musical creativity in extraordinary new ways.”
Grainge continues, “Our enduring faith in human creativity is the bedrock of Universal Music Group’s collaboration with YouTube on the future of AI. Central to our collective vision is taking steps to build a safe, responsible and profitable ecosystem of music and video—one where artists and songwriters have the ability to maintain their creative integrity, their power to choose, and to be compensated fairly.”

The major music company’s partnership with Alphabet-owned YouTube is based on “a shared commitment to lead responsibly,” where AI is built to “empower human creativity, and not the other way around.”

AI “will never replace human creativity because it will always lack the essential spark that drives the most talented artists to do their best work, which is intention. From Mozart to The Beatles to Taylor Swift, genius is never random,” enthuses the Los Angeles-based, British-born executive.

YouTube’s three pillars of AI music principles are shared as the creative industry collectively holds its breath on this powerful new tool, and its ramifications.

On one side, observers warn that Jim Cameron’s sci-fi nightmare that is Skynet is about to unfold, for real.

Others are confident that AI is manna from heaven.


The YT principles include:

1. AI is here, and we will embrace it responsibly together with our music partners. 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.

2. AI is ushering in a new age of creative expression, but it must include appropriate protections and unlock opportunities for music partners who decide to participate. 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.

3. We’ve built an industry-leading trust and safety organization and content policies. We will scale those to meet the challenges of AI. 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.

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.

At the same time, the streaming giant announces its AI Music Incubator, a program that is expected to gather artists, songwriters, and producers to help inform YouTube’s approach to generative AI in music.

At launch, the incubator boasts creatives from across UMG’s roster that includes Anitta, Björn Ulvaeus, d4vd, Don Was, Juanes, Louis Bell, Max Richter, Rodney Jerkins, Rosanne Cash, Ryan Tedder, Yo Gotti, and the Estate of Frank Sinatra, amongst others.

“While some may find my decision controversial, I’ve joined this group with an open mind and purely out of curiosity about how an AI model works and what it could be capable of in a creative process,” says ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus, president of The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC).

“I believe that the more I understand, the better equipped I’ll be to advocate for and to help protect the rights of my fellow human creators.”

Read Grainge’s blog post here.


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