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59% Of Young Australians Comfortable With Music Being AI Generated

24 August 2023 | 10:55 am | Stephen Green

The shock findings highlight the cultural mountain for Australian music to climb domestically.


Industry (The Music)

The Guardian Essential poll this week released findings sobering for the Australian music industry, as it canvassed whether people are comfortable with the music they consume being generated by AI.

Just 40% of respondents across the age demographics expressed that they were uncomfortable with their music being AI generated, with only visual art scoring lower across the content artforms.

The picture becomes even worse among young people 18-34 years old, with 59% of respondents expressing that they are comfortable or somewhat comfortable with consuming AI generated music.

While there seems to be no split along gender or voting lines there is a disparity between ages with just 37% of over 55s comfortable with AI, perhaps showing a combination of AI skepticism and a deeper connection to the music they consume.

While they are comfortable with AI, 90% of respondents expressed a desire to have the use of AI disclosed to them.

Surprisingly, young people were also comfortable with novels, film and TV also being AI generated, with over 50% of respondents expressing that comfort. Of all content, news gives people the least comfort for AI generation, with just 37% of people comfortable or somewhat comfortable with AI content generation in that space.

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With Australian music in a chart nadir and industry in a period of discussion of why our songs and stories are not cutting through, the survey not only shines a light on a country grappling with the introduction of AI, but also an industry grappling with how to create art that connects. There’s clearly a mountain to climb to explain and demonstrate to people why the emotion and human connection in music is indeed the whole point of the artform.

The industry is talking about AI at scale, with many companies actively participating in programs to explore the technology. Conversely, earlier this year the Grammys categorically ruled out allowing AI music to be eligible for the prestigious awards. Music isn’t the only artform grappling with the introduction of AI. The film industry has been discussing the potential outcomes, with AI a key battleground in the current Screen Actors Guild strike.

Today’s launch of Creative Australia and the creation of Music Australia comes at an exciting pivot point for the arts and in particular music, with AI providing both challenges and opportunities as human art fights to keep its place at the mainstream consumption table.