“Is anyone getting paid for the stuff it’s trained on? How do you even know what it’s trained on?”: Beato on the downsides of AI

Rick Beato has launched another broadside against the use of AI in music.

In a new Youtube video entitled I Told You This Was Going To Happen, Beato argues that the use of Auto-Tune has, in effect, rolled the pitch for the widespread use of AI in music. By ridding human voices of all their quirks and imperfections it has made it much harder to now distinguish between what actually is a human voice and one generated by AI.

He says, “listening to this you can see that this is something that people will use in the future. They will just bypass composers and use this. I’ve been saying this forever. Not everyone can tell that this stuff is not real.”

I Told You This Was Going To Happen - YouTube I Told You This Was Going To Happen - YouTube
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“All the digital processing of the human voice that’s happened with Auto-Tune and pitch correction...look it’s easier for a computer to sound like a computer than for people to sound like computers. They’ll just bypass the people and the companies that make this stuff will make all the money.”

In the video, Beato plays a number of tracks generated by prompts given to the AI program Udio, including Carolina-O, a plaintive First Aid Kit-type country rock song that a subscriber sent to him and Just For Me, a soporific cliche-ridden chill-out track.

He claims that his son and daughter are still able to tell which tracks are AI-generated, even if he cannot. “So I’m walking down the hall with my phone and Layla goes ‘Why are you listening to AI again?’ Whaat? You can hear that?”

“I can’t tell why they can recognise it instantly! But it will get better. He (Dylan, his son) has said ‘in six months I probably won’t be able to tell the difference’.”

Beato’s concerns are for musicians. “Who makes the money? Does Udio make it? Is anyone getting paid for the stuff it’s trained on? How do you even know what it’s trained on?”

“And people are going to make up their own songs. It’s like making up your own mixtape, except it’s all the things that you already like. You feel like you own it, even though you’re combining works of other people who have already written things like this.”

It’s far from the first time that Beato has bemoaned the long-term effects of technology in music. Amongst his previous Youtube vids are ones entitled How Computers Ruined Rock Music, How Creators Killed The Music Business and Why Gen Z Doesn’t Care About Music. But with over 4.2 million subscribers to his channel, he has an avid, and growing, audience for his tech-sceptic views.

Will Simpson
News and features writer

Will Simpson is a freelance music expert whose work has appeared in Classic Rock, Classic Pop, Guitarist and Total Guitar magazine. He is the author of 'Freedom Through Football: Inside Britain's Most Intrepid Sports Club' and his second book 'An American Cricket Odyssey' is due out in 2025