Artificial Intelligence

How do Arab singers, musicians see rise of artificial intelligence in music? 

Artificial intelligence (AI) has invaded almost every sector, and the music industry is not immune to its impact, both in terms of making music and producing it, which recently sparked controversy within the art community. Daily News Egypt surveyed the music stakeholders about the phenomenon, which some find terrifying.

Emirati singer Hussein Al Jasmi raised a state of controversy after he released his new song, “Ya Khabar”, in which he used artificial intelligence to produce the voice of singer Sherine Abdel Wahhab. Egyptian composer and singer Amr Mostafa announced that he would use artificial intelligence in music production and will add voices of old and late singers such as Umm Kulthum. This matter caused a storm of controversy and many criticized Mostafa before he finally changed his mind. However, he recently announced that he would use AI to create a voice, describing it as the world’s first artificial intelligence singer.

Samira Said had a different opinion. She said that artificial intelligence has become a reality after it was just science fiction and that it is now performing all tasks, even the voiceprint of singers. Therefore, she called for international laws to regulate the use of AI in the music industry.

Angham commented on the circulation of AI versions of her songs with the voices of other singers, such as Elissa, Asala, and Ahlam. She said she doesn’t mind that, but the bad side is using her voice in others’ songs. She hopes that the use of artificial intelligence in artistic works will be a temporary phenomenon as she felt AI-created voices lack feelings, as well as because of her fear of the impact of these technologies on the career of singers.

Elissa said that she categorically rejects the use of artificial intelligence in singing. This is because she feels there are other, undisclosed goals behind AI. She added that this will make people not think or act because artificial intelligence will do everything like singing, writing, etc., but until now she does not know what is behind this matter.

Mohamed Hamaki revealed his entry into the world of artificial intelligence, through one of his upcoming songs. He posted a video on Instagram, in which he appeared in an imaginary party, wearing a pharaonic costume. Hamaki commented on the video: “What do you think? … Artificial intelligence!”

Mostafa Kamel, the head of the Egyptian Musicians Syndicate, said that he has concerns about artificial intelligence. He added: “May God protect our stars. We are going through a difficult stage.” Kamel called on composer Amr Mostafa to stop his experiments in using artificial intelligence to produce new songs. He expressed his fear of the use of artificial intelligence to produce songs with the voice of late great singers, such as Umm Kulthum, Mohamed Abdel-Wahhab.

Composer Salah Al-Sharnoubi expressed his opinion on the use of artificial intelligence and said that the use of artificial intelligence in music is extremely dangerous and violates intellectual property rights. He added that this issue may seem to have no value at the present time and may be used as a matter of entertainment, but at the same time, it is necessary to put restrictions and laws that regulate this phenomenon.

Musician Hani Shenouda also warned of the consequences of using artificial intelligence without laws regulating it, urging the need for rapid intervention and amendment of intellectual property rights laws. Commenting on the use of Umm Kulthum’s voice in a new song, he said: “We have to ask about the legality of using Umm Kulthum’s voice after her death. The matter may extend to musical compositions and lyrics.”

Critic Magda Khairallah said that artificial intelligence greatly threatens the music industry, which is basically suffering from successive crises, and confirmed that everything that is happening now is a dangerous indicator.

Hossam Lotfi, the legal advisor to the Association of Authors and Composers, said that artificial intelligence applications have become a fait accompli and impose new challenges. He added: “From a legal point of view, it is not permissible to use the voices of singers without their permission.”

As for the families of late stars, iconic singer Abdel Halim Hafez’s family issued a warning against any attempt to use his voice in new songs through artificial intelligence, stressing that the family will take all necessary legal measures to prevent such attempts. Mohamed Shabana, the nephew of Abdel Halim Hafez, said on Facebook: “If the family wants to use this technology one day, it will be of the highest degree of quality, and it will be made upon the request of his lovers.”


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