Ulvaeus is the president of CISAC, a non-profit organisation that represents songwriters and composers around the world, collecting and paying royalties to its members whose music has been used in broadcasts, concerts, bars and on streaming services.
A new report from the organisation showed that royalty collections for songwriters and composers had recovered from pre-pandemic levels but Ulvaeus warned that AI could present greater challenges to musicians going forward.
In a forward to a new report from CISAC, Ulvaeus wrote: “This year’s results show that the collective management system, despite all the enormous challenges it faces in adapting to digital, is still robust and effective. CMOs (collective management organisations) have the backs of the creators they serve and are now delivering more money to more creators than ever before.
“And that is good news – because, fresh from Covid and the economic squeeze, what we now face is another very serious, existential challenge – that of artificial intelligence. AI will radically change the world for creators and the creative industry.
“It demands international leadership and a strong united front from all parts of the creative industry.”
Reflecting on 2022’s report, CISAC director general Gadi Oron added: “This is a remarkable return to growth as our whole sector fully recovers from the disastrous three-year pandemic.
“While live and public performance have bounced back strongly, the recovery is driven most of all by digital which has now become creators’ largest source of income. Streaming and subscription have not just revived the status quo, they have transformed the market, changed the game for creators and paved the way for future growth.”
Earlier this month, it was revealed that 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.
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.