Could musicians follow Hollywood actors and go on strike over the threat posed by AI? Hozier says that he would “absolutely” join in solidarity

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With Hollywood currently ground to a halt thanks to a strike by both writers and actors, Irish musician Hozier has said that he’d be willing to take similar action in protest at the threat that AI poses to musicians’ livelihoods.

"Joining in solidarity if there was… action on that? Absolutely,” Hozier told the BBC’s Newsnight. Discussing the artistic value of music created by AI, he added: “It can't create something based on a human experience. So I don't know if it meets the definition of art."

The issues of pay from streaming services and concern that AI could be used to create digital replicas of actors sit at the centre of the Hollywood strike, and both are of concern to musicians, too.

Just last week, it was reported that Google and Universal Music are negotiating a deal that could see the voices of artists' from Universal's catalogue being officially licensed for use in AI-generated songs, though stars would be able to opt out if they wish.

The Recording Academy, meanwhile, has said that music featuring AI will be considered for the Grammy Awards, provided it has been written and performed "mostly by a human".

While many musicians have spoken out against the threat posed by AI, there are some who are choosing to embrace it. Grimes has released an AI tool that that enables you to use her voice in your music, and has dismissed claims that it’s not capable of innovating.

On the subject of AI being used to create digital replicas of artists, said: “The concerns are not what the AI does; the concerns are what we do as people and the regulations and the guidelines that we put on folks that are building the models. The fact that AI can mimic, but at the same time we haven’t put in clauses where the people own their likeness and their essence, that’s one thing. AI’s not designed that - people are.”

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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