The deal comes in the wake of the fallout from the emergence of an AI-generated track in the style of Drake and The Weeknd.
The agreement will enable UMG artists and labels to create AI soundscapes for daily activities like sleep, relaxation and focus, according to a press release.
UMG artists will be able to build soundscapes using new music as well as catalogue, while the press release also states that any activity under the deal “will always respect creators’ rights” and “put artists at the centre of the creative process”.
Endel has previously worked with Universal act James Blake, who released the Wind Down soundscape as an album last year. The company has also worked with Miguel and Grimes, among others.
We believe in the incredible potential of ethical AI to support and enhance the creativity of our artists
Michael Nash, UMG
Michael Nash, Universal Music Group’s EVP, chief digital dfficer said: “At UMG, we believe in the incredible potential of ethical AI as a tool to support and enhance the creativity of our artists, labels and songwriters, something that Endel has harnessed with impressive ingenuity and scientific innovation. We are excited to work together and utilize their patented AI technology to create new music soundscapes – anchored in our artist-centric philosophy – that are designed to enhance audience wellness, powered by AI that respects artists’ rights in its development.”
Endel CEO Oleg Stavitsky said: “Endel has been artist and human-focused from day one. Our goal was always to help people focus, relax, and sleep with the power of sound. AI is the perfect tool for this. Today, seeing our technology being applied to turn your favorite music into functional soundscapes is a dream come true. We’re extremely excited to put Endel AI to work and help UMG build new and exciting offerings to promote wellness and banish the perceived threat around AI.”
Stavitsky went on to describe UMG’s decision to partner with his business as “extremely exciting”.
We’re excited to help UMG build new and exciting offerings banish the perceived threat around AI
Oleg Stavitsky, Endel
“It’s extremely exciting to see UMG embracing artist-driven AI,” he said. “Endel allows music companies like UMG to draw on the astounding capabilities of AI and functional music while respecting their artists’ rights. In that way, Endel acts more as a collaborator than a tool, giving artists control and freedom while satisfying a real market need for more music that can support their wellbeing.”
Last month, on Universal Music Group’s Q1 earnings call, UMG chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge addressed the issue of AI, saying the company is “open for business with [AI companies] which are legitimate, which are supportive, and [with] which we can create a partnership for growth.”