AI in the Music Industry: A.R. Rahman’s Exploration of Playback Singers’ Voices

Home|IP Unplugged|AI in the Music Industry: A.R. Rahman’s Exploration of Playback Singers’ Voices

Well-known for his trailblazing contributions to the music industry, music maestro A.R Rahman’s latest endeavour of using AI software to recreate the voices of late playback singers, Bamba Bakya and Shahul Hameed for the film “Lal Salaam,” specifically the music track “Thimiri Yezhuda”, has created a buzz. Rahman’s effort to recreate the voices of renowned playback singers was not just to preserve the original essence of their voices but to further explore creative possibilities.

The issue of using AI in music production is that it blurs the lines of intellectual property rights and publicity rights. Though A.R Rahman had obtained permission from the family and compensated them for the commercial exploitation of the voices of the late playback singers, the question is, would merely seeking permission suffice? Are there no other issues that have to be addressed? One important aspect to consider would be the original recordings of the playback singers’ voices. These recordings would typically be owned by record labels and music production houses and if the AI software is relying on such original recordings, then such AI generated content would require permissions or appropriate licenses. Moreover, questions would arise regarding the ownership of the rights to these digitally replicated voices and the safeguards in place to uphold the integrity of the original singers’ legacies. Despite the Union Minster of State for Commerce and Industry clarifying that the current IPR regime would be sufficient for AI generated works, there are many unresolved issues that have to be addressed.

While A.R Rahman’s work highlights the immense potential of AI to push artistic boundaries and preserve cultural heritage, it also underscores the importance of addressing the ethical and legal implications surrounding AI-generated content. For instance, recently late legendary singer SP Balasubrahmanyam’s voice had been recreated using AI technology for a Telugu film, without prior consent, and a legal notice has been issued in this regard to the producers. These occurrences are only going to continue unless a framework is implemented to ensure that the interests of all the parties involved are safeguarded.

Furthermore, as AI generated music becomes more complex, there is a risk that it may devalue the contributions made by humans and might also be an impediment to the possible opportunities for upcoming talent. Therefore, finding equilibrium between technological advancement and artistic talent is paramount, to ensure that AI does not replace human ingenuity.

Aarya S Puthran



This blog is for information only and should not be treated as an opinion in the matter.

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By |2024-02-22T15:47:10+00:00February 22nd, 2024|IP Unplugged|0 Comments

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