WMG boss Robert Kyncl had plenty of upbeat news to impart on 8/8’s earnings call, as you are doubtless aware, but he also seized the opportunity to say a word or two about pressing issues on the biz landscape, most notably AI.

With the issue of controlling likeness and creator output in the new technological ecosystem very much on the table in the WGA/SAG-AFTRA strikes, Kyncl was explicit about the importance of artists having a choice in how their work and images are used in the future.

“As you can imagine, we’re deeply engaged with our distribution partners as well as with the generative AI engines,” Kyncl noted. “So it's two fronts that we're having a lot of discussion and collaboration around.” He continued:

I always view this as both defensive and offensive, and that’s one of the reasons I mentioned some of the great progress we're making around generative AI with some of our artists. And there's a lot more that is happening behind the scenes that I haven’t talked about because it's a creative tool.

However, the important thing is that artists must have a choice. There are some that may not like it, and that's totally fine... and then there are some that will embrace it, and that's also fine.

We have to ensure that artists have a choice and that something is not done to them, but rather is done with them. That is my utmost priority here, because there's nothing more precious to an artist than their voice. Protecting their voice is protecting their livelihood and protecting their persona. So I want to make sure we deliver on that and at the same time deliver on opportunities the tools can provide them.

How will the biz respond as the challenges and opportunities of AI evolve? How will artists be able to retain control over their creations in this unpredictable landscape, and what safeguards will be put in place? Will lazy HITS editors try to use ChatGPT to write future stories about this stuff? Stay tuned, humans.