Spotify CEO Daniel Ek says that AI “could be potentially huge for creativity”

Daniel Ek
(Image credit: TORU YAMANAKA/AFP via Getty Images)

The ‘AI in music’ debate continues to rage, with some artists and record companies decrying the impact it could have on music, and others taking a more optimistic view. But what could it mean for streaming services? The question was raised on a recent Spotify conference call and in one of its podcasts, and company CEO Daniel Ek sounds broadly positive.

Billboard [paywall] reports that, while Ek acknowledged the potential for copyright infringement in cases such as Heart On My Sleeve - the name of the song that sounded like it was being performed by Drake and The Weeknd and was recently removed from streaming services - he believes that AI could actually help more people to start making music and achieve their artistic goals.

"On the positive side, this could be potentially huge for creativity," said Ek on a call to discuss Spotify’s first-quarter earnings. "That should lead to more music [which] we think is great culturally, but it also benefits Spotify, because the more creators we have on our service the better it is and the more opportunity we have to grow engagement and revenue."

Spotify has always denied allegations that it has created ‘fake’ artists and put their music on popular playlists - thus saving the company money in royalty payments - but AI will certainly make it easier to create ‘functional’ music (for sleep, focus, etc), whoever happens to be behind it. And, Ek seems keen to focus on the potential benefits of artificial intelligence rather than seeing it as a fundamentally Bad Thing.

Speaking on Spotify's For the Record podcast, he said: "I'm very familiar with the scary parts - the complete generative stuff or even the so-called deep fakes that pretend to be someone they're not. I choose to look at the glass as more half-full than half-empty. I think if it's done right, these AIs will be incorporated into almost every product suite to enable creativity to be available to many more people around the world."

A recent study indicates that almost 60% of musicians are already using AI in their productions, while Grimes says that she'd be happy to 'collaborate' with anyone who wants to use an AI version of her voice in a song, and would split the royalties 50/50.

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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