YouTube Dream Track Makes It Easy To Clone Artists On One Hand, But Penalizes You For Doing It On The Other

Tell me if you can figure this one out. YouTube made several announcements this week about incorporating Ai on its platform, but the announcements seem to be at odds with one another. The first one indicated that it would crack down on any Ai deep-fake clones that are uploaded, and the second said that it’s going to be offering Ai-generated deep-fake clones of popular artists with its new Dream Track on Shorts. Talk about inconsistent.

YouTube Dream Track

Let’s go in order. YouTube initially announced that YouTube is going to have two sets of content guidelines for Ai-generated deepfakes. If you’re a record label, the guidelines are very strict, but if you’re a creator, the rules are much looser.

Creators will be required to indicate if their video is “realistic” Ai-generated content at upload. Understand that although this applies to music, it can also be aimed at videos regarding elections or world events. A label indicating that the video contains Ai-generated material will appear in the video description, and if the video contains what YouTube thinks is sensitive material, on the video itself. Sounds good except that YouTube can’t yet describe what is thinks “realistic” means yet.

What happens if a creator doesn’t use the label? Good question, as it’s not clear how YouTube will know. The company says that it will have technology in place to do so, but so far any attempts at determining if content is Ai-generated haven’t worked too well, especially when parody and satire are involved.

YouTube did say that if it finds out that you omitted the fact that your video is Ai-generated, then it will be subject to takedown and/or demonetization.

But It’s OK On Shorts

Ok, so you’re a bad creator for using Ai on your video, but YouTube thinks it’s perfectly fine if you do it through it’s new Dream Track on Shorts.

Dream Track is a tool that allows you to produce “a unique soundtrack” featuring the Ai-generated voice and musical style of many popular artists, including Alec Benjamin, Charlie Puth, Charli XCX, Demi Lovato, John Legend, Sia, T-Pain, Troye Sivan and Papoose.

The idea is that you can create a unique soundtrack up to 30 seconds long for your Short using a licensed deep-fake using Ai cloning that the above mentioned artists have signed off on.

Obviously this will not be free (the artists would be crazy to let that happen), but there’s no mention to how much it might cost. Note that this will only be available in the U.S, at the moment.

I get it – if you want to have an Ai-generated clone, it’s better to have one that’s officially licensed so the artist can benefit from it. Yes, it’s better to have a policy that that tells you what you shouldn’t be doing, and it’s easier for YouTube to check out your video for Ai copyright violations if you label it for them. But there’s so much that’s undecided about Ai copyright that any guidelines put in place will ultimately be a moving target.

It would have been better if YouTube made one announcement that incorporated both scenarios that made a cohesive presentation, rather than two separate ones that feel like they came from different parts of the company that didn’t talk to one another.

I can’t wait to see how this one shakes out.

Check out the Dream Track video below.

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