YouTube developing AI tool allowing the use of famous musicians’ voices

YouTube is working on a new AI tool that would allow users to create videos that use the voices of well-known musicians.

Billboard reported that the company is currently in talks with record labels to negotiate permission for the use of artists’ intellectual property.

If it goes ahead, the beta version of the tool would allow a “select group of creators” to use the voices of the artists that agree to participate to create new video content on the platform.


However, it is reported that conversations between YouTube and record labels are taking longer than expected. YouTube had intended to unveil the tool at their ‘Made on YouTube’ event in September, but that did not happen.

The logo of YouTube can be seen on the screen of a computer. Photo: Silas Stein/dpa (Photo by Silas Stein/Getty Images)

Universal Music Group (UMG), Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group are some of the major labels that are currently in talks over voice rights for the beta version, although it is expected that any wider launch of the tool would require a new set of legal agreements.

UMG CEO Lucian Grainge has said that the new technology could “amplify human imagination and enrich musical creativity in extraordinary new ways.”

Robert Kyncl, the CEO of Warner Music Group said, “You have to embrace the technology, because it’s not like you can put technology in a bottle.”

It is thought that many major artists are resistant to allowing their voices to be used, and Billboard reports that there remain questions about how artists would be paid for the new content that the tool would create.


This week (October 18), music publishers including Universal Music Group Publishing, Concord Music Group and ABKCO sued an Amazon-backed AI company over alleged copyright infringement. Anthropic recently secured roughly $4 billion (£3.29 billion) in investment from Amazon, but the publishers are seeking potentially millions of dollars in damages.

The role of AI in creating music is highly contentious among artists and music fans. Earlier this year, Grimes gave permission for fans to use her voice in their own music with the help of AI, provided they share the royalties with her, while Liam Gallagher recently praised an AI version of a ‘lost’ Oasis album as “mega”.

Nick Cave, however, described it as a “grotesque mockery of what it is to be human” and told platforms such as ChatGPT to “fuck off and leave songwriting alone”. Ed Sheeran and Sting are others that have spoken out against the perceived threat of AI.