Photo Credit: Nick Fewings

The Music Fights Fraud Alliance unites all corners of the music industry in combating the growing threat of fraud in music streaming.

A new global task force aimed at eradicating streaming fraud, the Music Fights Fraud Alliance (MFFA) represents all corners of the music industry, aligning for the first time as a united front to combat fraud in music streaming. The movement’s mission is to ensure that the global music streaming market is fair and that all members actively contribute to solutions intended to balance the equity of its operations.

“As an alliance, our members hope to detect, prevent, mitigate, and enforce anti-fraud measures, thereby moving closer to an industry where fraud has no place,” reads the statement on their website.

It’s estimated that hundreds of millions of dollars are lost each year across the music industry, resulting from streaming abuse encompassing bots, streaming click farms, and imposters. These issues impact all artists, both self-published and those signed to labels, and it affects the music industry by diluting the royalty pool and reducing revenue for legitimate streams, slowing the approval and release process for creators.

“Streaming fraud, in all its guises, is recognized as one of the biggest — and growing — issues facing the recordings business. AIM welcomes all initiatives from distributors, platforms, and labels to help tackle it effectively,” comments Silvia Montello, CEO of AIM, the not-for-profit organization representing and supporting the UK’s independent music community.

“The Music Fights Fraud Alliance, which seeks to identify fraudsters, prevent ‘distributor hopping’ tactics, and enable fraud investigation for criminals operating at scale, can only be a step in the right direction. AIM encourages this and other initiatives using technology to assist in the gatekeeping of content uploads so that genuine artists and creators receive the royalties due to them.”

“I’m delighted to see DSPs and distributors of different stripes unifying to deal with the growing problem of streaming fraud,” adds Pascal Bittard, President at IDOL, a digital distributor providing world-leading service to some of the most prestigious names in independent music. “It will be interesting to see what the next steps for the alliance are, and IDOL will be keen to get involved if there is concrete action.”

“DSPs must continue improving their resources and technological efforts if they are to better detect all forms of fraudulent activities. Larger rightsholders, meanwhile, need to step up and be clearer about measures they intend to take against artists, labels, producers, and managers behind such fraud.”

MFFA members provide greater cross-platform collaboration and data sharing in coordination with the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA), a non-profit partnership between private organizations, government, and academia. The NCFTA’s mission is to provide a neutral, trusted environment enabling multi-party collaboration to identify, mitigate, and disrupt cybercrime.

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ASCAP says it has a slate of AI initiatives in the pipeline to help music creators navigate the future while protecting their work. 

These newly announced initiatives include adoption of a key set of AI principles, creator education, and startup incubation and policy development. ASCAP says it plans to build upon the not-for-profit PRO track record of technology advances, industry advocacy, and music royalty growth. 

“ASCAP has been adapting to disruption for more than 100 years,” says ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews. “AI doesn’t scare us because we see technology as an opportunity to innovate for our songwriter, composer, and music publisher members. The future is bright and we have our helmets on to fight the fight to protect the rights of music creators.”

“As the only creator-first US PRO, ASCAP always places our members at the core of everything we do and listening to them informs our strategy,” adds ASCAP Chief Strategy & Digital Officer Nick Lehman. “Our members are telling us that they want ASCAP to help them navigate technology disruption, advocate for better regulation in AI and pursue compensation if their music is used in AI-generated content.”

Here’s a quick peek at some of the AI initiatives for 2023 in the ASCAP pipeline. 

The 2023 ASCAP Lab Music & AI Challenge is designed to identify creative, cutting-edge concepts at the intersection of music and artificial intelligence, enabling ASCAP to work closely with the tech community to help guide the development and application of this game-changing technology for the benefit of music creators.

Five teams have been selected to receive grants and mentorship to develop and expand upon their emerging technologies during the 12-week challenge. Here’s a peek at this year’s teams competing. 

DAACI is a comprehensive AI system that composes, arranges, orchestrates and produces authentic, high-quality and original music with emotional and narrative awareness—especially for composers for video games, the metaverse, digital worlds, and more.

Infinite Album uses AI to generate continuous copyright-safe video game music that can react to gameplay in real-time and can be customized by gamers and viewers in collaborative, interactive, and monetizable ways.

Overture Games builds video games for beginner musicians designed to make practicing more fun and reduce burnout/quitting by using AI-based pitch detection to provide responsive visual feedback based on the musician’s playing.

Samplifi combines classical digital signal processing techniques with the latest advances in AI to isolate and enhance the auditory information needed to harmonically orient oneself within a piece of music. It makes the sonic world easier to navigate for hearing-impaired musicians.

Sounds.Studio by Never Before Heard Sounds is a browser-based music production platform that leverages AI to make producing music faster and more accessible with assistive tools like stem splitting, vocal conversion, timbre transfer and automatic song alignment. 

ASCAP AI Principles and Advocacy

ASCAP remains at the forefront of policy making with respect to AI in the areas of copyright and licensing. The ASCAP Board of Directors has adopted a set of key principles guiding the organizations response to AI. These principles are:

ASCAP is working to ensure that its over 920,000 members are heard in DC policy debates, briefings and roundtables and will educate and mobilize its members to protect their musical contributions.



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