SAG-AFTRA and Record Labels Reach Deal for Artist Protection Against AI


  • The artists union SAG-AFTRA has secured a deal for minimum compensation and AI protection.
  • SAG_AFTRA represents 160,000 actors and media related people.
  • The deal is effective for a five year period, considered effective from 2021 to 2026.

Hollywood actors and other media related professionals have reached a deal with record labels such as Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group. The deal includes increased minimum salaries and protection for artists and others against AI.

The deal, which covers a span of five years from 2021 to 2026, has also been approved by SAG-AFTRA, which is the representative of 160,000 artists, including actors, singers, and other media related professionals, as its executive members have approved the deal.

Source: Statista.

SAG-AFTRA protects artists rights

Artists went on a strike that lasted for more than a month last year, as AI was a big concern for the entertainment industry. This topic was the focal point of talks between major studios and SAG-AFTRA, which finally ended in a deal between them in November.

The music industry was hit badly due to the songs and music tracks created by generative AI. If we say that they were more affected compared to actors, then it won’t be wrong because AI made it possible for random people to mimic the voices of artists and create random tracks without the real artist’s consent or knowledge.

Source: Musicbusinessworld.

Previously, in January, SAG-AFTRA reached a deal with Replica Studios, a company that works on AI voice tech, for the use of artists’ voices in video games, the ones mimicked by AI. The deal provides negotiating rights and consent to the artists with the company. The agreement also gives the artists the right to withdraw from the continued use of their voices in new starting projects. 

Consent and compensation are a must 

Now on, it will be compulsory for record labels to get approval for consent and compensation before releasing a song that uses artificial intelligence to mimic the voice of an artist, according to SAG-AFTRA officials.

The terms singer, royalty artist, and artist can now only refer to humans under this agreement, so now labeling generative AI-produced work as artist’s produced work won’t be possible anymore.

SAG-AFTRA’s National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, said,

“This agreement ensures that our members are protected. While technology can enhance the creative process, the essence of music must always be rooted in genuine human expression and experience.”


Other provisions included in the agreement include an increase in the percentage of streaming revenue, retirement options, and also improvement in health to be specifically covered by contributions. It is also expected that members will vote one more time to officially approve the deal, which is expected in the coming weeks. 

Original report at Reuters.

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Aamir Sheikh

Amir is a media, marketing and content professional working in the digital industry. A veteran in content production Amir is now an enthusiastic cryptocurrency proponent, analyst and writer.

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