The Music Business Will Never Learn

It seems history is repeating itself. Remember when the RIAA thought it was a great idea to sue music lovers who used Napster? Well, now they are at it again. It may be a synthetic singer, but it’s an old song. Here’s the refrain.

A viral AI-generated song mimicking Drake and The Weeknd’s vocals, titled “Heart on My Sleeve,” has been removed from multiple streaming platforms – including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Amazon, SoundCloud, Tidal, Deezer, and TikTok – following a complaint from Universal Music Group (UMG). The song was streamed 15 million times on TikTok and attracted 600,000 plays on Spotify and 275,000 views on YouTube before being taken down.

UMG claimed that using their artists’ music to train generative AI constituted “a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law,” adding that platforms had a “legal and ethical responsibility” to prevent harmful uses of their services. However, it remains unclear whether traditional copyright law applies in this case, as the song in question was not written or sung by the artists. This incident marks the beginning of a complex conflict between the enthusiasm for AI in pop culture and the efforts to protect copyright.

If you want to learn more about generative AI – and how you can use it to increase productivity 5-25% for every single knowledge worker in your company – check out our free online course Generative AI for Executives. The course includes a section about copyright issues that explains both sides of today’s events.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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