Influencers vs. copyright for music beds: Why AI could be the solution

Rory Kenny is CEO and founder of Loudly.

If you find the topic of music copyright confusing then you’re not alone. It’s complicated, disjointed and expensive. But for content creators it’s an integral part of their process and necessary to achieve success.

All content creators understand the value that music adds by providing a layer that sets emotion, fun and enhances the experience for the viewer. But the practical application isn’t as straightforward as adding your favourite track to your video.

Copyright exists to protect the industry and its creators. In the same way an influencer may want to be credited for their content if used or shared, musicians are able to claim money if their work is used in a number of ways including a cover, the lyrics or a few seconds of a track.

Where it gets complicated is each country and social media platform have different licenses and regulations so it’s important to investigate where you stand depending on where you post content.

For the content creators they find it becomes their problem when the platform starts taking non compliant content down or even deleting channels, which of course can have a devastating impact.

And the problem is getting bigger by the day. YouTube channels alone grew by 23% to 37 million in 2020.

In response to the challenge Google developed Content ID, a digital fingerprinting system which is used to easily identify and manage copyrighted content on YouTube. Videos uploaded to YouTube are compared against audio and video files registered with Content ID by content owners, looking for any matches. In one month alone Google had 75 million take down requests over copyright demonstrating the staggering scale of the problem.

Facebook and Instagram have a slightly different approach. The companies have partnerships with rights holders which means users can use certain tracks on their lives and videos but there are limitations in terms of length, choice and also what country you live in.

However just as the industry seemed to get a handle on it the pandemic hit and live streaming boomed as a way for people to connect when isolated. This creates more problems as the volume of content is increasing and unlike posting on your feed the content disappears after 24 hours.

Companies now expect contributors to adhere to the rules or face serious consequences. YouTube has been known to delete channels in breach of music copyright rules and some Twitch users have had to delete hours of live streaming content that wasn’t complying with guidelines.

Arguably music copyright laws are no longer fit for purpose and it’s becoming increasingly challenging to police it as the number of content creators accelerates. But what can influencers do in the meantime to ensure that their content won’t be at risk of being deleted?

The first option is obtaining a music licence. However for mainstream music it can cost thousands of dollars and sometimes record companies will even want a percentage of the income the video generates. For many this is not a viable option and for those who could even afford it seems a huge investment.

You could pay a music producer to create unique tracks for you, but again this is expensive and not viable for the majority.

There are of course a handful of mainstream royalty free music tracks in existence such as Amazing Grace and Happy Birthday that clearly have limitations and don’t work long term.

Using technology is also an option. AI powered music solutions such as Loudly offer a seamless solution to the creator economy by allowing influencers to generate tracks for their videos, catering to all different themes, moods and genres.

Creators have the ability to quickly and easily create a track that fits with the theme and mood of the video. Essentially you’re creating a bespoke track for each bit of content without needing a music producer or musical background. And the best bit is it’s all Royalty Free, so users have confidence that there will be no issues with getting work taking down or being slapped with huge fines.

So whilst we wait for a music industry which may never catch up to the new way we digest music, utilising AI is a great way to ensure that content remains exciting but also within the boundaries of the law.

Photo by Marius Masalar on Unsplash

Read more: Not in a silent way: How Jazzed launch represents alternative to ‘all-you-can-eat’ streaming culture

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