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HomeBusinessWarner Music Group CEO shares insights on AI, label relevance, and more!

Warner Music Group CEO shares insights on AI, label relevance, and more!


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In a recent Q&A session at the Code Conference, Warner Music Group CEO Robert Kyncl discussed the relevance and longevity of traditional music labels in the current music ecosystem. Kyncl compared the role of music labels today to that of advertising agencies a decade ago. Despite predictions of their demise due to the rise of platforms like Google’s AdWords, ad agencies remained relevant by providing value and helping brands navigate and cut through the increasing complexity of advertising. Similarly, Kyncl argued that music labels continue to be necessary to help artists establish and sustain their careers, especially as the noise and competition in the industry increase with the ability for anyone to upload content and be heard. He emphasized that a team and an “army” behind an artist are crucial for a sustainable and successful career.

Kyncl also predicted that the music industry would be at the forefront of exploiting the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and would face the challenges of regulating and monetizing AI-generated content before other industries. He drew parallels between the explosion of user-generated content on platforms like YouTube and the potential infringement of copyrights by AI. Kyncl referred to YouTube’s Content ID system as an example of a solution to address copyright issues with user-generated content, and suggested that a similar system could be developed for AI-generated content. While he acknowledged that the technology for an AI Content ID-style system is not yet developed, he stressed the importance of approaching AI with thoughtfulness and ensuring that artists have a choice in its use.

Kyncl also expressed his belief that the streaming audio business would not experience the same challenges currently faced by the streaming video business. He highlighted the significant growth of the music subscription model in the past 15 years, thanks to platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. Kyncl identified the opportunity for continued growth in emerging markets and the potential of rising GDPs in those countries. He concluded by stating that music is more resilient than video and that the streaming audio industry has a bright future ahead.

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