Viral ‘BBL Drizzy’ AI Drake diss track company gets sued

Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN | 7/1/2024, 6:46 a.m.
A group of major record labels is suing two AI startups, alleging they wrongfully used popular artists’ work to train …
Kendrick Lamar and Drake have been engaged in a lyrical battle in recent weeks that escalated over the weekend. Mandatory Credit: AFP/WireImage/Getty Images via CNN Newsource

A group of major record labels is suing two AI startups, alleging they wrongfully used popular artists’ work to train their systems to produce copyrighted music without their consent.

The Recording Industry Association of America – the trade group on behalf of labels including Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings and Warner Records – filed two copyright infringement cases against AI companies Suno and Uncharted Labs, the developer behind Udio, for training their AI models with the labels’ unlicensed sound recordings.

Udio is the company behind “BBL Drizzy,” the AI-generated song that went viral last month during the Kendrick Lamar and Drake spat. Udio was founded last year by former Google DeepMind researchers to make it “easy for anyone to create emotionally resonant music in an instant,” according to the company. In April, it raised $10 million in funding.

Meanwhile, Suno raised $125 million in funding last month. The platform, which allows users to create songs with only a few prompts, relies on OpenAI’s ChatGPT for lyrics and title development.

Udio and Suno did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

RIAA CEO Mitch Glazier said in a statement that the lawsuits are “necessary to reinforce the most basic rules of the road for the responsible, ethical, and lawful development of generative AI systems and to bring Suno’s and Udio’s blatant infringement to an end.”

He added that the music community is already partnering and collaborating with “responsible developers to build sustainable AI tools” that put artists and songwriters in charge, but unlicensed services can exploit an artist’s work “without consent or pay set back … .”

In April, more than 200 artists, including Billie Eilish, Kacey Musgraves, J Balvin, Ja Rule, Jon Bon Jovi, The Jonas Brothers, Katy Perry, Miranda Lambert and more, signed an open letter organized by the non-profit Artist Rights Alliance calling on AI developers, technology companies, platforms and digital music services to “cease the use of artificial intelligence to infringe upon and devalue the rights of human artists.”

The lawsuit against Udio states “if developed with the permission and participation of copyright owners, generative AI tools will be able to assist humans in creating and producing new and innovative music.”

It added: “But if developed irresponsibly, without regard for fundamental copyright protections, those same tools threaten enduring and irreparable harm to recording artists, record labels, and the music industry, inevitably reducing the quality of new music available to consumers and diminishing our shared culture.”

Meanwhile, the lawsuit against Suno states the company has over 10,000,000 users generating music files using the platform, bringing in about 2,000,000 streams.

“These digital music files have been released to the public—some already finding their way onto the major streaming services—and compete with the copyrighted sound recordings that enabled their creation; yet Suno sought no permission from and gives no credit or compensation to the human artists or other rightsholders whose works fueled their creation.”

This story has been updated with additional context and developments.

CNN’s Jordan Valinsky contributed to this report