Home About us

The three major records "encircled and suppressed" Suno and Udio

Music first 2024/07/05 12:09

Author | Li Qinyu Edited | Fan Zhihui

On June 28, the AI:OK project, funded by the Irish government and initiated by Dublin City University in Ireland, was officially launched, dedicated to promoting the responsible use of artificial intelligence in the music industry. The project is supported by organizations such as the NMPA and RIAA to ensure the legal and fair use of AI technology in music creation by setting industry standards.

Just a few days ago, a number of record companies, including Sony Music, Universal Music, and Warner Music, jointly filed a lawsuit against Suno, Udio, two emerging AI music companies.

Music first, the three major records "encircle" Suno and Udio

According to The Verge, the lawsuit was filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which represents record labels, accusing Suno of infringing 662 songs and Udio's infringing 1,670 songs, and pursuing up to $150,000 per work, which is the maximum amount of damages for intentional infringement under the U.S. Copyright Act.

Ken Doroshow, Chief Legal Counsel at RIAA, said: "Suno and Udio are trying to cover up their infringement in all its aspects, rather than placing their services on a sound and legal basis. ”

A month after Sony Music's "withdrawal from the group" incident, the music industry finally ushered in a head-to-head confrontation between record companies and AI companies.

The three major records "encircled and suppressed" Suno and Udio

Although Suno and Udio are still just emerging AIGC products, most creators are familiar with them.

In May, Suno announced the closing of a new round of funding for $125 million, breaking the largest music tech funding round since March 2021 and the largest funding round in the music/audio AI space to date.

Music first, the three major records "encircle" Suno and Udio

In April of this year, Udio ended its closed beta and was officially released, receiving a $10 million seed round of financing. It has an impressive line-up of investors, including a16z Cultural Leadership Fund, Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger and Google Gemini Al head Oriol Vinyal, music distribution platform UnitedMasters, pop artist will.i.am, Common and music producer Tay Keith, and Live Earth and Live 8 producer Kevin Wall is also an investor.

The RIAA provided a large amount of evidence in the litigation materials, including examples of music generated using Suno and Udio, and how their scores compared to existing copyrighted works.

For example, if you type a string of prompts to Suno, "50's rock 'n' roll, blues bars 12, energetic male rock singer, guitar master", the resulting audio file is almost an exact copy of B.B. The signature melodies of genre representatives such as King and Chuck Berry.

In the evidence materials, it can be seen that classic old songs such as "Johnny B. Goode" and "The Thrill is Gone" have been almost wiped out by the 35 files generated by Suno.

Music first, the three major records "encircle" Suno and Udio

Udio isn't much better, with complaints suggesting that its AI-generated songs appear to be replicated from Bublé's "Sway."

Music first, the three major records "encircle" Suno and Udio

Interestingly, instead of alleging copyright infringement by these "melody" and "lyrics" tracks, the RIAA sued the AI company for using copyrighted music as part of its training data.

Not only that, but the complaint against Suno also claims that some of its generated productions actually include producers' tag watermarks, which are those short sounds that the producer adds to the beginning or end of the track.

Mikey Shulman, Suno's chief executive, said in an emailed statement that the company's technology is "transformative" and aims to generate entirely new output, rather than memorizing and repeating what already exists. That's why SNO doesn't allow users to prompt specific artists. (In practice, though, users can reportedly bypass this restriction.) )

He added: "We were happy to explain this to the record companies that filed the lawsuit, and we have tried to do so, but instead of having a sincere discussion with us, they went back to the old lawyer-led routine." ”

Music first, the three major records "encircle" Suno and Udio

In 2023 alone, an estimated 170 million songs will be created using AI and uploaded to music streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

It is understood that this year, the entire AI music generation tool as a whole has seen significant growth, with an average growth rate of nearly 30%. Among them, in April this year, Suno maintained a growth rate of 38.04%, reaching 31.76 million visits, and the number of users has exceeded 10 million; Udio announced in May that it would generate 10 songs per second on the platform, and it has attracted many music players with its dynamic generation of vocals and instruments.

As soon as the two AI companies entered the music industry, they made a splash, and it is no wonder that they attracted the attention of the three "big brothers".

As the scale of accusations against companies that have mastered the core technology of AI generation gradually increases, silicon-based art and carbon-based music are holding their own flags, and a war is about to break out. But what is certain is that this tug-of-war has only just begun, and it is far from reaching the finals in the true sense of the word.

Fake encirclement and suppression, real game

The RIAA's lawsuit against Suno and Udio follows multiple lawsuits against AI developers in the U.S. over the past year.

Last October, for example, a lawsuit was filed against Universal Music, Concord and ABKCO, in which the plaintiffs claimed that Anthropic AI's chatbot, Claude, had been plagiarizing copyrighted lyrics.

The plaintiffs argue that "when such AI music services make unauthorized use of copyrighted audio material, the synthesized music generated by these technologies could flood the market." These machine-generated music will compete directly with live-action music, causing its market price to drop and ultimately submerging the real music. ”

Music first, the three major records "encircle" Suno and Udio

A number of tech companies involved in the development of AI technology, including Anthropic and Google, believe that the use of copyrighted material to train AI should be considered a "fair use" exemption from copyright law, i.e., the use of copyrighted material should be allowed in certain circumstances, such as the development of a new technology or new product.

According to Jonathan Coote, a music and artificial intelligence lawyer at British law firm Bray & Krais, "fair use" in the US is much more flexible than in the UK and includes considerations such as whether the use is "transformative". "This could become a philosophical question about the creative role of AI, including its economic and social implications," he added. These cases could be one of many in the creative industry and will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court. ”

Of course, for technology-centric technology companies, establishing their products and business models is often more important than anything else. Therefore, before AIGC products formed a "regular army", the copyright issues that were ignored in order to verify the agile development of the model became its inevitable flaw and were criticized.

This is especially true for music, image, and film and television AIGC products, especially music AIGC products, which require a large amount of music materials to train the model. In the early days of a company, it is almost impossible to obtain copyright licenses one by one, and copyright owners often do not pay enough attention to AI companies before they grow.

Music first, the three major records "encircle" Suno and Udio

The melodic direction and chord composition of popular music or music of a specific genre are often similar, which makes the AI music generated by training with a massive music library easy to give people a feeling of "crowded", and it is also easier for listeners to compare and retain evidence of their "electronic plagiarism". As AI companies grow, listeners can also use this to attack or challenge their copyrights.

Although AI companies have been challenged for infringement and lawsuits from copyright owners, it does not mean that music record companies have shied away from AI technology.

The lawsuit comes just a week after Universal Music announced a new strategic partnership with AI company SoundLabs, which will allow artists and producers under Universal Music to use MicDrop, SoundLabs' artificial intelligence sound plugin, which allows artists to generate their own voice models with data and have full control over the use of those models.

Music first, the three major records "encircle" Suno and Udio

On the other hand, there are solutions that are currently being discussed in the music industry. On June 26, for example, Google's video platform YouTube was trying to pay Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music "one-time cash" in exchange for song licensing in order to legally train its AI music tools (Sony Music, of course, was not involved). According to people familiar with the matter, YouTube wants to provide a one-time cash offer with the permission of the artist himself to obtain the rights to the music of a specific artist.

Last year, YouTube established a cooperative partnership with the two giants, Universal Music and Warner Music, in an attempt to apply Dream Track, a new AI feature developed by the joint development, to YouTube short, and compete with TikTok in the field of short videos. But the recruitment turned out to be counterproductive, with only 10 artists agreeing to put their work into model training for their AI products.

Music first, the three major records "encircle" Suno and Udio

On the other hand, it seems to be a signal from artists that artists are more cautious about AI than record labels. While a handful of artists such as Grimes and 3LAU have embraced the technology, many more have expressed concern about what the technology means for the future of human creativity.

It can be seen that the record company does not really want to "exterminate" AI, but wants to increase its bargaining chips through a game method, safeguard the reasonable rights and interests of musicians, and then maintain the foundation of its own revenue.

It's just that the opponent encountered this time is the content creation sector at the core of the entire industry, which makes this corner overtaking more threatening, and the iron throne of the music industry will completely change hands if there is a slight accident, and music companies and creators have to intervene early.

The script of business warfare is always the same way

It's clear that the rapid development of AI has caused a "Napster effect" similar to that of two decades ago in the music industry.

In June 1999, Napster became one of the most popular applications on the Internet as a revolutionary peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing platform that attracted a large number of users, especially college students and young adults, and within a year the number of Napster users swelled to millions.

Music first, the three major records "encircle" Suno and Udio

But the advent of Napster has had an unprecedented impact on record labels. Through Napster, pirated music spread rapidly, and people easily accessed music resources through the Internet, resulting in a sharp decline in sales of cassettes, CDs, and vinyl records.

It is understood that the revenue of the American music industry reached its peak in 1999, and it has not been able to recover to this level in the following two decades, and the revenue of physical music has continued to decline, and the annual sales are lower than the previous year.

Music first, the three major records "encircle" Suno and Udio

In 2000, the RIAA and a number of major record labels filed a lawsuit against Napster, accusing it of illegally distributing copyrighted musical works in large quantities. Both artists represented by Dre and record labels represented by EMI expressed strong protests against Napster.

This legal battle, which marked a major conflict between the music industry and digital technology, had a profound impact on the subsequent development of copyright protection and digital music.

Eventually, after much entanglement, Napster was shut down in 2001, and Bestman, who financed it, paid tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars to Universal Music, Warner Music, EMI, and NMPA from 2006 to 2007.

However, Napster's P2P technology became the technical foundation for subsequent streaming services. In the early days of Spotify's development, P2P technology helped Spotify develop effective music playback software and effectively save server bandwidth expenses. It wasn't until 2014 that Spotify gradually abandoned P2P technology.

In the chaos of free and pirated copies, music streaming platforms such as Spotify and Tencent Music have also cooperated with the three major records to achieve a win-win situation in order to obtain music licensing, jointly pushing the historical process into the streaming media era.

The RIAA has never played high-end games. The RIAA won the battle against Napster, and now it is not relentless against more advanced rivals AI companies.

At present, the number of infringing tracks mentioned in the lawsuit is 662 and 1,679, respectively, and Suno and Udio will face hundreds of millions of dollars in claims based on the standard of up to $150,000 per piece. This is both a sky-high fee for startups, but more like a warning to all those who try to use unauthorized copyrighted works for AI product model training.

Music first, the three major records "encircle" Suno and Udio

The industry will not disappear with the emergence of new technologies, but will only change the rules of the game. Going to court will not curb the rapid development of technology, and record companies and musicians will eventually have to reconcile with new technologies, but only if there is a reasonable distribution plan that can protect the rights and interests of creators.


The birth of new technologies often changes the structure of any industry, and no one in the industry is "immune".

For example, while printing technology has reduced the cost of production in the publishing industry, e-books have taken away a large share of the book market after a chaotic period of rampant piracy, and the new streaming technology has disrupted the original sales channels and accelerated the decline of traditional bookstores.

But at the same time, publishers, bookstores and practitioners are embracing technology and formulating new profit-sharing rules for new channels, and the entire publishing industry is gradually exploring a new path of development.

Music first, the three major records "encircle" Suno and Udio

Perhaps in the near future, major copyright owners and songwriters will also form a new industrial structure with AI technology, but it is foreseeable that this process will not be a smooth road.

When AI technology is sweeping inexorably, silicon-based life greed sucks blood, and human wisdom crystallizes while cooking a bigger and sweeter cake for the market.

*The source of this article is the network, such as infringement contact deletion

This article is from Xinzhi self-media and does not represent the views and positions of Business Xinzhi.If there is any suspicion of infringement, please contact the administrator of the Business News Platform.Contact: system@shangyexinzhi.com