Let’s learn together. Music AI experiments from YouTube & Google DeepMind.

Nov 16, 2023

Over my 40 years working for artists and creatives, I’ve lived through countless technological cycles. From the Roland TR-808, which revolutionized digital drum programming, to the Fairlight CMI, the first commercial digital sampler, to Auto-Tune … technology in music is many times met with apprehension but often leads to profound creative progress.

But let’s speak the truth – technology in music can also be disruptive. Digital piracy undermined our creative industries for far too long, and it took time for streaming to meaningfully contribute to the bottom line …

That's why today's announcements mark an important opportunity for the music industry, tech industry, and creative communities to come together early and shape the future of AI collaboratively. Generative AI can create immense value for all creatives, as it enriches human creativity in ways unimaginable just a few months ago. But the journey to unlocking this value will be bumpy, which is why we want to test and learn in deep partnership with our music industry partners, artists, songwriters, and producers.

AI will never replace human creativity. It's not a competitor, it’s a collaborator. It empowers creatives to focus on what truly matters: unique intentions, creative vision, and taste.

First I’d like to expand on our announcement of a set of music AI Tools for professional musicians. We launched a Music AI Incubator in August, and we are learning from renowned artists, producers, and songwriters. Their feedback inspired us to develop new AI tools, allowing musicians to experiment with new ways to enhance their creative process. Imagine humming a melody and instantly getting a feel for the instruments that can bring that melody to life – trumpet or guitar?

Secondly, we announced an experiment in YouTube Shorts called Dream Track, powered by Google DeepMind’s most advanced AI music generation model to date, Lyria. As of today, we will let a small group of select US YouTube creators create soundtracks for their Shorts that are up to 30 seconds long and use the AI-generated voice of artists who have partnered with us to participate in this experiment. We are deeply honored to collaborate with Alec Benjamin, Charli XCX, Charlie Puth, Demi Lovato, John Legend, Papoose, Sia, T-Pain, and Troye Sivan (with more artists on the way) who have all chosen to participate in this experiment as we test and learn to shape the future of AI in music. Dream Track is meant to create deeper connections between artists, creators, and fans. Users can dive into the musical universe of participating artists with personal prompts that allow them to explore the artist's artistry in unprecedented ways. To learn more about these experiments, I encourage you to read our announcement blog.

Charli XCX: 'When I was first approached by YouTube I was cautious and still am, AI is going to transform the world and the music industry in ways we do not yet fully understand. This experiment will offer a small insight into the creative opportunities that could be possible and I’m interested to see what comes out of it.'
Charlie Puth: 'I'm extremely excited and inspired by the realm of musical possibilities that come from allowing the human-mind to collaborate with the non-human mind. YouTube has been a great partner in outlining their approach to AI and understands the need to work together with artists like me to develop this technology responsibly, ensuring it will accelerate creativity instead of replacing it.'
John Legend: 'Being a part of YouTube’s Dream Track experiment is an opportunity to help shape possibilities for the future. As an artist, I am happy to have a seat at the table and I look forward to seeing what the creators dream up during this period.'
Sia: 'I'm excited to be a part of YouTube’s cutting edge Dream Track experiment and I can’t wait to hear what kinds of recipes all you creators out there come up with!'
T-Pain: 'The development of AI technology is happening quickly and we should be a part of that process. I have always been about pushing the boundaries of technology and harnessing it to make the most interesting music for my fans. Who knows what the future holds but joining hands with YouTube and Google to help shape that future feels like a great first step.'

To hear more from Demi Lovato, Louis Bell, and Troye Sivan click here.

All new technology has to be approached responsibly and collaboratively. That is not lost on us, and we cannot figure this out alone. It’s mission critical for us to work with our partners in the music industry to develop new monetization and attribution frameworks, leveraging infrastructures like Content ID, our best-in-class rights management tech, that have generated billions for the industry for more than a decade. We’ve also heard from partners on the need to provide the right options and controls to manage these emerging technologies. Removal requests will be available to labels or distributors who represent artists participating in YouTube’s early AI music experiments. We’re still in the early stages of this work and expect that we’ll continue to evolve our approach as we learn more. You can read more about YouTube’s progress in responsible AI innovation here.

When technological innovation, human imagination, and music meet, extraordinary things can happen. We wake up every morning obsessing over these details and making sure our platform and technologies help artists realize their dreams, while letting fans get closer to the action. Our team looks forward to testing, learning, and building with our creative and business partners to accomplish just that.

With love and respect,


Lyor Cohen
Global Head of Music, YouTube