skip to main content

MU Responds to Recommendations Made in APPG's Inquiry on AI in Music Report

We thank the APPG for undertaking this important inquiry and while we are hopeful Government will accept its recommendations, we suggest it also introduce some additional measures to truly protect the future careers and rights of our members.

Photo ofPhil Kear
By Phil Kear Published: 01 May 2024 | 10:00 AM
AI concept, turntable playing a record with a black abstract background showing electronic computer soundwaves.
The report identifies significant concerns for music creators, previously highlighted by the MU and our fellow creator representatives from the CMM. Image credit: Shutterstock.

On 1 May, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music (APPG) published the findings of its inquiry into the impact of AI (Artificial Intelligence) on the music industry.

The report ‘Artificial Intelligence and the Music Industry – Master or Servant?’ outlines evidence given at the inquiry that was investigated by the group at the start of the year and shares recommendations to Government.

Whilst the report identifies significant concerns for music creators, previously highlighted by the MU and our fellow creator representatives from the Council of Music Makers (CMM), the resulting recommendations don't go as far as we'd like in order to protect the careers and intellectual property rights of members.

We recognise the attempts that have been made through these recommendations to deal with several significant issues

We would like to thank the APPG for undertaking the inquiry in the first place, and recognise the attempts that have been made through its recommendations to deal with several significant issues presented by the mass ingestion of copyright works to train generative AI systems. These include: transparent labelling of AI generated content; enforced record-keeping obligations to give creators the ability to track when their creations have been used; and the ability to prevent UK market access to AI systems trained overseas, if that training was not conducted in compliance with UK laws.

However, the recommendations do not address all of the music creator-specific issues dealt with by the Five Fundamentals of AI and Music, previously proposed by the Council of Music Makers.

Recommendations need to go further to protect performers

It is vital that any future licensing scheme introduced to permit the legal use of compositions and recordings to train AI systems requires the clear, explicit consent of individual creators. Any consent to make copies previously granted to a record label or publisher (for the pressing of CDs, for example) must be considered insufficient for the label or publisher to grant rights to AI training.

For any such scheme to work for creators, it needs to be an “opt-in” scheme only – i.e. a tech company could only use a creator’s work once it had received explicit consent to do so. Any scheme where a creator’s works were automatically usable until they actively “opted-out”, would leave creators with a huge administrative burden and potential unable to prevent the use of their works even if they wanted to.

Any scheme should have fair creator remuneration built in from the start. Spotify launched in the UK sixteen years ago, and still musicians and composers are receiving a disproportionately small share of the revenue generated. Any solution reached from the current creator remuneration working group won’t be retrospective, so that’s sixteen years of underpayment that creators will never recover. We can’t allow that to be repeated when it comes to AI.

We should push for more protection when it comes to personality rights. The report sets out additional protections for voice, image, name and likeness, but this leaves a performer’s playing style, instrument tone and playing technique could still be reproduced without consequence, alongside a songwriter’s specific compositional style or lyrical style.

Overall, we are grateful for the APPG’s recognition of the threat posed to the music industry by generative AI and their attempt to address this through the recommendations from their inquiry. We are hopeful the Government will accept the recommendations, and that they see fit to introduce the additional measures required to truly protect the future careers and rights of our members.

Individual creators must have their say

Naomi Pohl, MU General Secretary says: “We are grateful that cross-party MPs acknowledge the challenges faced by the UK’s world-leading creative industries, in the face of rapid artificial intelligence development.

“While assistive AI is already being adopted by creators, we urgently need legislation to deal with the implications of generative AI. Copyright law must be enforced and new rights introduced in order to safeguard creators’ rights, works and identities.

“Individual creators must have their say. Once again we are up against big tech and lobbying groups with much larger resources than our own. However, we know many decision-makers are listening and keen to help.

“We will keep engaging with the Government on this issue, as well as music streaming, to ensure our members get a fair deal and aren’t repeatedly taken advantage of by rights owners or users of their works.”

Read the APPG’s eight recommendations to Government

  • Recommendation 1: The Government should create a pro creative industries Al Bill. As well as protecting copyright, the Bill should introduce new rights and obligations around labelling and record keeping, as well as enhancing personality rights. It should act as a vehicle to implement many of the recommendations of this report and show the UK can lead the way in harnessing new technology.
  • Recommendation 2: Transparent labelling enables informed decision-making for consumers. The Government should ratify labelling requirements for Al-generated content under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
  • Recommendation 3: The Government should introduce a standalone obligation for Al developers and those using Large Language Models (LLMs) to comply with record keeping requirements for all data sets used for ingestion, not solely limited to personal data.
  • Recommendation 4: The Government should promote compliance with UK copyright law, requiring stakeholders to obtain express permission before using copyrighted material, and educating music creators and rightsholders on their rights.
  • Recommendation 5: The Government should address the copyright status of Al-generated works and provide clarity, making it clear that without human creativity copyright is not afforded as a right.
  • Recommendation 6: The Government should introduce a specific personality right to protect creators and artists from misappropriation and false endorsement. Such a right should protect their voice, image, name, and likeness (VINL).
  • Recommendation 7: As a condition of market access, the Government should require Large Language Models (LLMs) to comply with UK copyright provisions, even if the services or goods they have developed are created in compliance with the laws outside the UK. This could also be achieved by clarifying that when an individual or organisation create goods or services internationally which breach copyright law in the UK, that UK law would apply.
  • Recommendation 8: The UK Government should take the lead role in the creation of an international taskforce on Al, taking forward this dialogue across borders, ensuring best practice is shared and putting copyright and the creative industries at the heart of any future global Al summit.


Get MU membership today

From gig players to part-time teachers and professional instrumentalists, MU members can access specialist insurance for musicians. This includes accident cover, health schemes, travel insurance and car insurance add-ons through the Musicians’ Union.

Explore our member services

  • Get public liability insurance for musicians
  • Access expert legal support
  • Be represented in your profession
  • Access expert career advice, resources, and training events
  • Connect, network, and get to know the community of musicians

Learn about all membership benefits

Get MU membership today

Continue reading