Generative AI Music Programs Suno and Udio Sued by Major Labels

The recording industry is intensifying its fight against unauthorized, AI-generated music with lawsuits targeting two leading services, Suno and Udio.

Filed in separate U.S. district courts, the suits allege that the companies behind those programs have unlawfully exploited copyrighted sound recordings to train their AI-powered text-to-music models.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has reportedly spearheaded the lawsuits, representing the big three major labels: Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Records. The complaints emphasize that Suno and Udio have copied vast amounts of sound recordings without obtaining proper permissions, thus violating fundamental copyright laws.

According to the complaints, AI-powered music generation services like Suno and Udio operate by ingesting massive datasets of popular music to create new outputs that mimic human sound recordings. This method, the lawsuits argue, not only infringes on copyright but also poses risks of flooding the market with AI-generated music, which could overshadow genuine works created by humans.

The lawsuits seek to achieve several goals: court declarations that the services have infringed on copyrighted works, injunctions to prevent future infringements and financial damages for past violations.

RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier stressed that while the music community is open to collaborating with responsible AI developers, unlicensed services pose a significant threat to the integrity and value of human creativity.

“The music community has embraced AI and we are already partnering and collaborating with responsible developers to build sustainable AI tools centered on human creativity that put artists and songwriters in charge,” Glazier said in a statement. “But we can only succeed if developers are willing to work together with us. Unlicensed services like Suno and Udio that claim it’s ‘fair’ to copy an artist’s life’s work and exploit it for their own profit without consent or pay set back the promise of genuinely innovative AI for us all.”

Twitch Inks Landmark Music Licensing Deals for Livestreamed DJ Sets

Twitch has inked licensing deals with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music and “hundreds” of independent music rightsholders enabling DJs to legally play copyrighted songs in their streams, the company announced this week.

The landmark agreements, which Twitch claims are the first of their kind, precipitated the “Twitch DJ Program,” which will pay royalties to the platform’s artists—but with a few caveats.

“This program is only applicable to those who live-stream as DJs, and does not apply to other uses of music,” Twitch CEO Dan Clancy said in a blog post. “DJs will need to opt-in to a new agreement that will apply to all streaming on their channel. For those who only stream DJ content part-time, we recommend creating a second standalone channel dedicated to DJ live-streaming.”

In order to “cover the cost of the music” played by DJs in their videos, Twitch will allocate a portion of their revenue to the record labels and artists behind the streamed music. In other words, DJs will have to cough up an unspecified percentage of their earnings to rightsholders. These costs will vary depending on “how a channel monetizes,” but for most streamers, Clancy says, Twitch will split them 50/50.

The platform experienced breakneck growth after its acquisition by Amazon for $970 million back in 2014, and its popularity erupted during the COVID-19 pandemic as DJs desperately turned to streaming to stay financially afloat. But Twitch found itself in hot water after issuing rampant DMCA takedown notices to legions of its users, who were unwittingly playing songs in their streams without the rights to do so by virtue of the company’s business model.

“DJs have been streaming on Twitch for some time now, but have been personally responsible for the challenges of tackling these issues, along with the risks of not doing so,” reads Clancy’s blog post. “Twitch has been able to mitigate these risks during ongoing negotiations with music companies, who have been willing to keep the status quo during our discussions.”

“It’s crucial that DJs understand the status quo on Twitch was not sustainable, and any viable future for the community required we find a solution,” he added.

Twitch CEO Dan Clancy.

Twitch

The new licensing deals not only legitimize Twitch as a veritable music hub, but also serve as a watershed moment for DJs. They can now freely select music and perform without legal ramifications, opening up new avenues for monetization and audience growth.

A late-2021 study by the music analytics firm Luminate suggested that Twitch is instrumental in fueling the discovery of electronic dance music and found that the platform’s users “are 84% more likely to listen to EDM than the average music listener.” Look no further than Crossmauz, a teenage Twitch creator who configured in his bedroom a rig of festival-grade lasers, strobe lights, speakers and even pyrotechnics to blast EDM during his gaming streams.

The number of DJs streaming on Twitch has more than quadrupled since 2020, according to Clancy, who said that “over 15,000 of them have been able to build and monetize communities of music fans” on the platform.

“We’re proud to be the first major service to provide a safe, permanent home for DJs, and we are excited to now be able to promote and support these creators as they build communities on our service and beyond,” he said.

You can can find out more about the “Twitch DJ Program” here.

Spotify Hits Replay on Price Hikes, Raises Subscription Rates for the Second Time in a Year

Just when you thought your monthly subscription was safe, Spotify has decided to raise prices—again. Starting next month, US subscribers will face higher fees for Premium, Duo and Family plans, marking the second increase within a year.

Beginning in July, Spotify Premium will cost $11.99 per month, up from the previous $10.99. Duo plans will rise by $2 to $16.99 per month and Family plans will see a $3 increase, bringing the total to $19.99 per month.

Spotify justified these increases by stating, “So that we can continue to invest in and innovate on our product features and bring users the best experience, we occasionally update our prices.”

The streaming giant is far from alone in this inflationary trend. Major competitors like Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus have also raised their prices recently, leading many to question the future affordability of streaming services.

Likewise, for many artists, Spotify’s payment model remains a contentious issue. The platform pays royalties based on an artist’s share of overall streams, amounting to roughly $0.003 to $0.005 per play, not enough for the overwhelming majority of artists to sustain a living wage.

Ironically, the company’s announcement comes at a controversial time. Just days ago, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek faced backlash for a post on X claiming that the cost of creating content was “close to zero,” a statement widely lambasted by musicians who argued that producing quality music is far from free. Ek eventually backpedaled but is still facing a great deal of criticism.

Support Independent Electronic Music Artists With Beatport's New Weekly Playlist

Discovering talented producers before they headline festivals is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences for any fans of dance music. Now, finding underground artists is even easier thanks to Beatport.

The company will plug them in their new playlist, “Best New Independent Artists,” which will update weekly to illuminate promising talents without access to the big-budget backing of a major label. The groundbreaking playlist, which Beatport says is the first of its kind, will benefit both fans who want to discover new songs as well as the artists behind them, who will connect with new audiences around the world.

Beatport is collaborating with independent artist distribution partners like TuneCore, DistroKid and Music Hub to curate the playlist, according to a press release. These three partners are now actively accepting music submissions from independent artists who are looking to expand their reach.

Beatport CEO Robb McDaniels and TuneCore CEO Andreea Gleeson.

c/o Press

It’s no secret that major labels wield their influence to market their artists and blitz the electronic music scene, making it particularly difficult for new artists to find their footing when promoting their music. By spotlighting the craft of emerging talent, Beatport is empowering them to forge connections within their strong DJing community.

“By curating a dedicated space for independent electronic music artists, Beatport is not only providing a platform for discovery but also ensuring that standout self-produced artists receive the recognition and compensation they deserve from the get-go,” said Raphael Pujol, Beatport’s Vice President of Global Curation.

“While other platforms may struggle with the distribution of small payments to artists with fewer streams,” she added, “our focus remains firmly on furthering the voices of independent creators and fostering a more equitable ecosystem for electronic music.

Listen to Beatport’s “Best New Independent Artists” playlist here.

DOJ Sues Live Nation and Ticketmaster Over Alleged Monopoly Practices

The Department of Justice, along with 30 state and district attorneys general, has filed a federal lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment and its subsidiary Ticketmaster, accusing the companies of monopolistic practices in the live events industry.

The suit marks a critical step in addressing long-standing concerns about the dominance of Live Nation and Ticketmaster in the concert ticket market. The complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York, alleges that Live Nation has used its market power to stifle competition, resulting in higher ticket prices and limited options for consumers.

The DOJ claims that the company’s tactics have harmed music fans, artists and smaller promoters by fostering an unfair market landscape.

“The result is that fans pay more in fees, artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts, smaller promoters get squeezed out, and venues have fewer real choices for ticketing services,” Attorney General Merrick Garland stated. “It is time to break up Live Nation.”

“We’re here not because Ticketmaster’s conduct is inconvenient or frustrating… we’re here because it’s illegal,” he added.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster in 2023 came under fire after cancelling a botched pre-sale to Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour.”

Paolo V

In response to the lawsuit, Dan Wall, Live Nation’s Executive Vice President of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, argued that it “ignores everything that is actually responsible for higher ticket prices, from rising production costs to artist popularity, to 24/7 online ticket scalping.”

Wall also noted that Live Nation’s net profits do not reflect monopoly power, calling such claims “absurd” in a scathing blog post.

“The defining feature of a monopolist is monopoly profits derived from monopoly pricing. Live Nation in no way fits the profile,” he said. “Service charges on Ticketmaster are no higher than on SeatGeek, AXS, or other primary ticketing sites, and are frequently lower. In fact, when Ticketmaster loses a venue to SeatGeek, service charges usually go up substantially. And even accounting for sponsorship, an advertising business that helps keep ticket prices down, Live Nation’s overall net profit margin is at the low end of profitable S&P 500 companies.”

Shares of Live Nation reportedly fell 5% following news of the lawsuit.

Music Royalty Transparency Platform Mogul Surpasses $100 Million of Tracked Funds

In the music industry, where financial transparency often feels like a mirage, Mogul is emerging as a lifeline for artists seeking clarity in their earned compensation.

Mogul addresses the longstanding problem of financial opacity in the music business by centralizing royalty data across all rights types into a single actionable hub, an effective go-to solution for artists aiming to simplify their finances and capture every cent of their earnings.

According to a press release shared with EDM.com, the platform has now tracked over $100 million in royalties since its debut in early February, a clear sign the company is establishing itself as a promising, transformative force for artists.

“Surpassing $100 million in tracked royalties so quickly is a clear sign that the industry’s opaque and fragmented nature needs to be remedied,” said Mogul CEO Jeff Ponchick. “Artists and their teams receive an ocean of data from each royalty source and have little to no tools at the ready to make sense of how their business is actually working. We’re thrilled Mogul is filling that need for new artists every day so that they can understand their business and generate more income.”

Ponchick has an established track record of success when it comes to developing artist-friendly tech tools. The serial entrepreneur famously founded Repost Network, an artist-facing distribution and promotional tool that was later acquired by SoundCloud in a $15 million deal in 2019.

“I’m excited about what Mogul can do for artists at all levels of the industry,” added Aloe Blacc, an early adopter of the platform and frequent collaborator of the late dance music icon Avicii. “To have a system to synthesize all sources of income in a transparent way is transformative tech we all need.”

You can find out more about Mogul via the company’s official website.

Unmuted: TikTok and Universal Music Group End Feud, Ink New Licensing Deal

The feud between TikTok and Universal Music Group over a hostile licensing dispute has ended after the companies inked a new licensing deal, according to a joint press release.

That means UMG, which wields the world’s largest music catalog of roughly four million songs, will soon unmute those tracks on TikTok. Music by Taylor Swift, deadmau5, David Guetta, Drake, Tiësto, Olivia Rodrigo and many more will reportedly return in the next two weeks.

After UMG in late-January shared a scathing letter that castigated TikTok for mistreating its artists, hundreds of millions of videos were muted on the platform as the company removed its songs from the app en masse. The controversy gripped both the creator economy and music industry at large, leaving artists to grapple with the fallout and turn to other platforms for promotion.

One of the cornerstones of the new agreement is protection against the scourge of generative AI for artists. TikTok has committed to working with UMG to improve songwriter attribution and remove unauthorized AI-generated music from the platform, which has over a billion monthly active users. The two companies “will work together to ensure AI development across the music industry will protect human artistry and the economics that flow to those artists and songwriters,” today’s press release reads.

As part of the deal, they will also work together to establish “new monetization opportunities” and develop campaigns to support UMG’s artists by virtue of TikTok’s business model.

“This new chapter in our relationship with TikTok focuses on the value of music, the primacy of human artistry and the welfare of the creative community,” said Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group. “We look forward to collaborating with the team at TikTok to further the interests of our artists and songwriters and drive innovation in fan engagement while advancing social music monetization.”

“Music is an integral part of the TikTok ecosystem and we are pleased to have found a path forward with Universal Music Group,” added TikTok CEO Shou Chew. “We are committed to working together to drive value, discovery and promotion for all of UMG’s amazing artists and songwriters, and deepen their ability to grow, connect and engage with the TikTok community.”

UMG and TikTok are now “working expeditiously” to reinstate the former’s music on the latter’s social media platform “in due course.”

Meanwhile, the fate of TikTok hangs in the balance after President Joe Biden signed a bill that will ban the app in the U.S. unless its Chinese-owned parent company, ByteDance, sells it to an approved buyer. TikTok reportedly plans to challenge the bill in court.

IMS Business Report Values Dance Music Industry at Remarkable $11.8 Billion: Key Insights

The electronic dance music industry has achieved a remarkable $11.8 billion valuation, according to the 2024 IMS Business Report.

Reinforcing its prestige as a cultural and economic force, the global dance music business “is now firmly in its post-pandemic growth phase” after achieving 17% revenue growth in 2023, per the report.

The upsurge can be attributed to EDM’s universal appeal, technological integration and unparalleled ability to captivate audiences. As the genre’s popularity snowballs at major events like Coachella, festivals and clubs continue to dominate revenues, amassing nearly half of the industry total. The next biggest segment was music hardware and software, which comprised roughly 25% of total revenues.

The rise in the number of EDM fans far surpassed those of hip-hop, rock and Latin music in 2023, reflecting a substantial boon for its “share of global culture.” Electronic music has the smallest fanbase of those four major genres but grew fastest across all key DSPs by a wide margin, passing rock on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. It was dwarfed by hip-hop, which still reigned supreme in streaming totals.

The 2024 Ultra Music Festival in Miami.

Kelly Knisel/EDM.com

Elsewhere are key data points revealing the swelling influence of independent labels, which increased their market share for the fourth consecutive quarter at a clip of 31%. The majors still dominate, according to the report, but lost share to “the newer generation of future-focused labels.”

When it comes to streaming, the four markets with the most monthly electronic music listeners on Spotify are Germany, the US, Australia and the UK, respectively. But the report indicated strong market penetration from South Africa, which has nearly twice as many listeners as its total population. That figure reflects the degree to which the country “has built its own electronic scenes and culture.”

South African dance music icon Black Coffee won the Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album in 2022 and Defected Records launched One People, an offshoot aiming to “orchestrate a sonic celebration of Afrocentric music from a diverse and international roster of artists,” according to the renowned label. Meanwhile, Zimbabwean producer Nitefreak was recently named to the EDM.com Class of 2024.

That global appeal is the upshot of a resolute post-pandemic rebound the likes of which David Guetta predicted in late-2021, when he said “the next few years will be the best years for dance music in history.” Today’s $11.8 billion valuation towers over the dance music industry’s $6.9 billion reckoning a decade ago in 2014, when the genre experienced a cultural stateside explosion.

“2022 was an unusual year, in that it reflected the post-pandemic bounce back effect for live,” MIDiA Research’s Mark Mulligan said. “There was a risk that 2023 would struggle to live up to those inflated expectations, but instead the electronic music industry grew strongly once again, with impressive growth across virtually all of its constituent parts. What is more, electronic music culture grew its fan bases faster than other leading genres, in part due to the rapid rise of African music and fans, illustrating the growing cultural footprint of electronic music culture and its vibrant global scenes.”

You can download the full 2024 IMS Business report here.

Future-Proofing Festivals: CAA Vet Alex Becket on Why EDM is the Sound of Success for Coachella and More

Imagine it’s 2013. Skrillex’s brostep is decimating crowds, Avicii is triggering spiritual dancefloor awakenings, a 17-year-old Martin Garrix drops “Animals” and the retina-searing lasers of Ultra are changing eyeballs forever.

While that EDM serotonin rush still remains, the industry looks different over a decade later, when its consumers often prioritize the intimate, walk-on-air euphoria of a dark warehouse rave over the regurgitated frills of a major festival. From a cultural standpoint, the chasm between those two formats keeps growing—but for its artists, the road between the two is paved with uncertainty and hardship.

So where exactly do DJs fit into this industry in flux? And what challenges do they face?

Without the peace of mind that comes with blitzkrieg marketing offensives and veteran negotiators like CAA’s Alex Becket, most must navigate choppy waters solo as inflationary pressures hike the rising costs of touring to unsustainable levels. For those artists, it’s a lonely masterclass in DIY hustle.

Becket is the powerhouse agent behind—among many others—RÜFÜS DU SOL, Bedouin, Monolink and G Jones, the lattermost of whom was recently named by EDM.com as one of the world’s best electronic music producers. He has been with CAA for nearly two decades and became the firm’s first electronic music agent in 2012 before nabbing a spot in Billboard’s venerable “Dance Power Players” list in 2019.

It’s no secret that leading agencies like CAA wield industry tentacles to curate prime festival real estate as a means to nurture the eggs of their mainstream golden geese. In other words, the stages of major festivals are the ultimate slingshots for new albums. Meanwhile, their electronic artists—as well as those repped by independent bookers across the nation—are left tasting the dust of their hip-hop and pop contemporaries.

But if there’s any silver lining, blue-chip agencies and festivals today are acutely focused on unearthing and booking EDM talent, according to Becket, who tells us he expects to see more dance acts on big stages in the near future.

Alex Becket, a music agent at CAA, one of the world’s most influential entertainment and sports talent agencies. 

c/o Creative Artists Agency

Once relegated to the fringes of the festival circuit, dance music producers are now commanding top billing and drawing massive audiences to marquee mainstream events like Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, all of whom tapped ODESZA to headline last year.

Meanwhile, Coachella’s organizers in 2023 approached the trio of Skrillex, Fred again.. and Four Tet to close out the world’s quintessential music festival in lieu of a spurned Frank Ocean. Prior to their last-minute headlining set, Coachella counted only Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia—themselves replacements after stepping in for Kanye West in 2022—as their only other DJ headliners in the last decade.

Now, after a year teeming with unforgettable EDM moments, Coachella is introducing a brand-new stage to serve as the festival’s de facto epicenter of rave music. The ambitious stage, Quasar, will feature three-hour DJ sets by RÜFÜS DU SOL and a cancer-free Michael Bibi, among other deeply influential dance music artists.

Ahead of Coachella’s return this weekend, we caught up with Becket to discuss Quasar as well as the evolving relationship between major festivals and the electronic dance music community.

EDM.com: After Coachella made the decision to blend Sahara’s lineups with more mainstream artists, it seems Quasar is the festival’s new epicenter of electronic dance music. Why now?

Alex Becket: The way “underground” house and techno music has become so popular in recent years, and arguably is now the mainstream dance music of the day, the traditional home at the festival for that sound, the Yuma Tent, has become too small to service all the demand. It’s a great sign for the health of our industry that the festival needs a stage like Quasar for this growing audience.

EDM.com: Take us behind the scenes of your discussions with your artists about Quasar. What about the new stage was so appealing to them?

Alex Becket: Coachella has been such a pioneer for dance music over the years and they’ve done it again with Quasar. The opportunity to play an extended three-hour set is unheard of amongst multi-genre contemporary festivals and represents the core culture around DJs and raves. It’s exciting for these artists to have the freedom to take fans on a journey without the constraints of 60–75-minute sets that are typical at the festival.

EDM.com: We’ve seen a surge in EDM bookings at festivals like Coachella. Can you elaborate on the strategic advantages—beyond pure popularity—that booking EDM artists brings to major festivals?

Alex Becket: Coachella has been booking electronic artists for decades but it’s true this year feels particularly dance-heavy. For whatever reason, I think other genres are down right now and electronic is filling up a lot of that void on festival lineups. Dance music appeals to a broader audience than a lot of other genres, and that drives mass appeal.

EDM.com: What role, if any, has technological advancements in live production and stage setups played in making EDM acts more appealing for festival organizers? And to what extent does this focus on live spectacle factor into a festival’s decision-making when executing lineups?

Alex Becket: Festivals want big shows and big moments so it factors in a lot for them. Big production was an essential part of the “EDM” boom in the early 2010s and has always been a big part of the EDM experience. “Underground” shows with no production emerged in response to that, and now you’re seeing the pendulum swing back the other way in many cases with underground artists building big shows. In this way we’re seeing big productions with better music and it’s a winning combo.

EDM.com: Are there any particular up-and-coming artists or sub-genres that you anticipate will gain even more traction in the festival circuit in the near future?

Alex Becket: Hard techno is definitely having a moment with younger generations, and we’re having a ton of success at CAA in the minimal tech and minimal deep tech space. Our new colleague Julian Teixeira has a lot of the best up-and-coming artists in this world like Chris Stussy, Dennis Cruz and Ben Sterling.

Part of Alex Becket’s roster at CAA, RÜFÜS DU SOL’s Jon George and James Hunt will DJ at the debut of Coachella’s new Quasar stage in 2024.

Michael Drummond

EDM.com: What challenges or obstacles do EDM artists face when it comes to securing prominent slots at major festivals dominated by more traditional rock, hip-hop and pop acts?

Alex Becket: DJs and electronic artists have been sharing the top lines at festivals with rock, hip-hop and pop acts for years. In the past, relatively few dance artists headlined hard tickets and their value was closely tied to VIP sales (still does) which is harder to quantify and not public information. That’s a different metric that made direct comparisons difficult and worked against dance artists for prominent slots or billing, but many dance artists live in the hard ticket world now and it’s not much of a thing.

EDM.com: How do you see the festival landscape evolving in the next five to 10 years when it comes to the representation of EDM and other electronic music genres on major lineups?

Alex Becket: The sky’s the limit! One of dance music’s greatest strengths is diversity, both of the audience and the music. I expect to see more dance acts on big and small stages alike, and different music thrives in different settings.

I love the variety of experiences Coachella offers in this way. You can go see an insane visual spectacular like Anyma at the Sahara Tent, then pop over to the Do LaB for the best dance party at the festival, then head to an immersive experience with RÜFÜS DU SOL (DJ SET) at Quasar, then end your night with Adriatique at the Yuma for a true nightclub experience in the middle of a festival. The options are incredible!

Over 200 Leading Artists Rally Against AI Tech In Call for Responsible Music Innovation

Amid the era of AI, when technology’s rapid evolution often blurs the lines between enhancement and infringement, over 200 artists have banded together in an unprecedented plea for respect and responsibility.

The Artist Rights Alliance has published a scathing open letter, titled “Stop Devaluing Music,” to issue a timely rebuke of AI developers in the music industry. In a clarion call for action, the petition urges tech companies to pledge against releasing generative music tools and technologies that could diminish the human artistry of songwriters and producers.

“Make no mistake, we believe that, when used responsibly, AI has enormous potential to advance human creativity,” the letter asserts.

This acknowledgment of artificial intelligence’s potential underscores the artists’ stance not as anti-innovation, but pro-accountability. Their grievance lies not with the technology itself but with the manner in which it’s currently being deployed by big tech platforms and developers.

The heart of the issue, per the petition, is the irresponsible use of AI that compromises artists’ ability to protect their privacy and intellectual property. It’s a predicament that stems from some of the world’s largest companies taking liberties with AI model “training” based on existing music—without regard for the original creators. This practice not only undermines the intrinsic value of music, but also poses a threat to the livelihood of those who create it.

“Unfortunately, some platforms and developers are employing AI to sabotage creativity and undermine artists, songwriters, musicians and rightsholders,” the letter continues. “When used irresponsibly, AI poses enormous threats to our ability to protect our privacy, our identities, our music and our livelihoods.”

Among the high-profile producers throwing their weight behind the initiative are industry luminaries like Billie Eilish, Metro Boomin, FINNEAS, Hit-Boy and Chase & Status. Their participation, along with superstars the likes of Sam Smith, Kim Petras, J Balvin, Pearl Jam and more, amplifies the petition’s message and highlights the widespread concern among artists of all walks about the future of music creation in the face of advancing AI.

Read the full open letter here.