Who Gets Royalties for AI-Created Music? Congress to Review: Kiplinger Economic Forecasts

As AI continues to grow, artists want Congress to reconsider the Music Modernization Act and royalties for AI-created music.

Man enjoying music he's streaming on his headphones
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Artificial intelligence is increasingly seeping into every industry, and artists are looking to Congress to ensure they can get paid when their work is used in a song created by the burgeoning technology. To help you understand what is going on and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly-experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest...

The music industry is sounding the alarm over artificial intelligence. And Congress is listening to the argument that AI poses a huge threat to the livelihood of musicians, writers, producers, etc. Recent advances in AI make it easy to create “new” music using existing recordings as models. Typically, the original artists aren’t asked for permission or paid royalties, which the industry says is unfair and endangers their business. 

Lawmakers are looking at updating or replacing the five-year-old Music Modernization Act, a historic piece of legislation that revamped the music royalty process to ensure that artists are paid fairly. The music industry warns that the 2018 law is quickly becoming obsolete, due to AI. Look for the issue to gain traction on Capitol Hill in the coming months. Key hearings have been held as the industry calls for royalties on AI-created music.

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This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Sean Lengell
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

Sean Lengell covers Congress and government policy for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in January 2017 he served as a congressional reporter for eight years with the Washington Examiner and the Washington Times. He previously covered local news for the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. A native of northern Illinois who spent much of his youth in St. Petersburg, Fla., he holds a bachelor's degree in English from Marquette University.