ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus Hopes Big Companies Will Protect Real Musicians Against AI

Elifnaz Yuksel

Former ABBA member Björn Ulvaeus had an interview with Rick Beato and shared his opinions about the future of AI-made music. Björn mentioned alternative ways for maintaining musicians within the industry even in a scenario where AI dominates music production:

“[AI] is a fantastic tool, it will be the most fantastic co-writer you will ever have. But on the other hand, these AI models will be training on music that people have written, right? I don’t know if it’s too late, but certainly, we have to fight for the writers of that music so they get remunerated in some form or other.”

Ulvaeus also shared his impression about the AI programs that aren’t fed with a human perspective, saying that it’s not difficult to spot the differences:

“I don’t know if [artists] will be able to opt out if they don’t want [AI] to be trained on [their music]. But I suspect that it’s going to be very difficult to prove whether a model is trained in ABBA music or not… From what I heard [during] that demonstration, if you ask it to write an ABBA-like melody, you would never be able to recognise that. You’ll never be able to hear that it [came] from Benny and me if it’s sung by someone else, which in this case it was.”

He continued by assuming that AI-made music will gradually improve, and he shared his expectations from the producing companies:

“And then, it’ll be so difficult to trace. Hopefully, these big companies will be good guys. And I think some of them want to be on the side of the creators, rather than against [them].”

The usage of AI in music is a newly-risen debate among musicians. Some focused on the nostalgic aspect like Paul McCartney, which mentioned it was an emotional experience when he first tried it:

“The first time I ever did it was very emotional. And it keeps being emotional because, you know, I’m singing with my old buddy again. Peter texted me and he said ‘We could isolate John’s voice out. And you could play live. And that would mean you will be singing with John again.'”

Other musicians, like Ed Sheeran, gave their negative opinion about the prevalence of AI. Sheeran emphasised the humane aspect of music, and how AI lacks providing that aspect:

“I just don’t know why you need it, if you’re taking a job away from a human being, I think that’s probably a bad thing. Because then the world is just going to be… The whole point of societies, we all do jobs and do things… If everything is done by robots, everyone’s going to be out of work. I just find AI a bit weird.”

You can watch the whole interview below.


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