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SAG-AFTRA Finalizes Negotiations with Major Studios to Protect Against AI Use in Music

Art by Mohamed Nohassi via Unsplash

SAG-AFTRA Finalizes Negotiations with Major Studios to Protect Against AI Use in Music

By Movieguide® Contributor

A new agreement has been formed between SAG-AFTRA and major recording studios concerning the use of AI in the music industry.

“This agreement ensures that our members are protected,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA national executive director and chief negotiator. “SAG-AFTRA stands firm in the belief that while technology can enhance the creative process, the essence of music must always be rooted in genuine human expression and experience.”

“We look forward to working alongside our industry partners to foster an environment where innovation serves to elevate, not diminish, the unique value of each artist’s contribution to our rich cultural tapestry,” he added.

The deal stipulates that the terms “artist,” “singer” and “royalty artist” can only refer to real human beings. Furthermore, it outlines requirements for clear consent and minimum compensation, among other guidelines for digitally replicating a musician’s voice.

“Together, we’ll chart a successful course forward, embracing new opportunities and facing our common challenges, strengthened by our shared values and commitment to human artistry,” said the Record Label Negotiating Committee.

The agreement also included better health and retirement benefits along with an increase in streaming revenue.

Having been unanimously approved by the SAG-AFTRA negotiation board, voting for ratification will now open to the 160,000 musicians affected by the contract. Assuming it is approved, the new agreement will be in place until December of 2026.

With the passing of this contract, SAG-AFTRA will have covered the use of AI in every aspect of entertainment that the union represents. After AI tools like ChatGPT grew in popularity at the end of 2022, those working in the entertainment industry have been concerned that the technology could replace them. While these tools do not currently create high-quality content, they are able to mass-produce entertainment at little to no cost.

Fears over being replaced by AI were at the heart of last summer’s dual writers’ and actors’ strikes, which also concluded with strong AI protections.

Movieguide® previously reported:

The actors’ strike ended last week after 118 days, and Fran Drescher and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland explain why AI regulation was a hot-button issue from start to finish.

“With AI, things move very fast, and three months is equivalent to a year in how things can change,” said Drescher, the SAG-AFTRA President. “If we didn’t close that up now, then you’ll be so far behind you’ll never be able to catch up. It was really important to us that we got the protections we felt that we absolutely needed to sustain this contract until the next one.”

This topic proved to be the hardest to resolve as this was the sole issue left for the final weeks of negotiations. The protection that SAG-AFTRA negotiators pursued was more extensive than the ones the writers pursued with their strike. This differed from both unions’ desire for better compensation from streaming platforms, where the actors’ and writers’ requests were comparable. Thus, once the writers’ strike was resolved, the question of better pay was quickly resolved for the actors, while AI regulation remained unsolved.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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