Audio authors: Q&A about Envato third-party distribution and licensing

I 100% agree. After all these years with Envato, we at least deserve to be treated with respect. We have the right to know more: how exactly our music will be used? Where? What would be our share from all this? And so on.

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These are 100% valid questions. We need answers.

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I’m sorry, but this logic is just backwards. Is there really no other way to do this? If you need to know how many items are potentially available, why don’t you create a questionnaire? Just ask people if they would be interested in this. This way you’ll have approximate data, which you can use to move forward. And with this, you can present more info for authors, in order to make a final decision.

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If all the details are not explained by 29 July, and subsequently the opportunity to opt out is not given, then for me the choice to be made is very simple. These are two fundamental conditions. We are workers, not people who play and have nothing to do all day.

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Totally understandable. If there are any specific or even general information we can get about possible deals, we’ll do our utmost to get them for you. We know it’s a difficult decision with such limited information.

Not difficult at all, actually! :rofl:

But I do appreciate the opt-out option with more than a month in advance (I also received the Google Forms mail but it would be great to be sure) and the possibility of having this forum space to discuss.

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Why would it be difficult? There is absolutely nothing appealing for authors in this deal. Envato has failed to tell us authors what’s in it for us. It’s as simple as that.

While I understand that you can’t tell us before a deal is made, and you can’t make a deal without having the music, the number of tracks being a crucial talking point in the negotiations with third-parties, there is something you could have told which would have made the whole thing a bit more palatable. It’s pretty obvious and Envato should have stated it clearly from the get go: what the share of the author is in this deal.

You don’t have to have done deals to announce that 70% of revenue from those deals would go to authors. You would have had a lot more opt-ins (sorry I mean a lot less opt-outs, since you guys are going all backwards on this)

The fact that Envato did not state what the share they intend to attribute to authors will be is either a very dumb oversight on your part… or a red flag. Which is it?

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All other possible legal ramifications not withstanding, it seems to me that a far more reasonable approach would give us the possibility to opt-in on a track-by-track case-by-case basis, with full transparency regarding usages and compensation.

For example, there are many tracks in my portfolio that I wouldn’t mind being used for AI. Some, but not all. Those tracks which are “closer to my heart” or more representative of my “personal artistic conception” would be excluded from AI learning. But many others are fair game.

Distribution deals are a separate issue with its own concerns.

Yes, this would entail more logistical effort on Envato’s part, but doing the right thing isn’t always easy. The “All-or-Nothing, opt-out by July 29” approach feels to me like a case of heavy-handed corporate bullying.

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We shall see if my comment is censored. The reality is that the biggest question for everyone to ask is this: Is AI learning and then outputting “new creations” or “New Sound recordings” even an “action” that can generate future, recurring royalties to us? The original human author and creator?

The greatest risk to willful offering of your music property to train / teach AI how to output music like your own is this: Will this new technology even allow for a recurring royalty based business model.

The offer is this: Give us your music for ingestion into AI learning models, and we will find a fee for you granting us those rights to license your music property to 3rd parties (AI Companies like SUNO and UDIO I’d have to imagine)

This event in our lives allows the AI to learn from our music forever, in perpetuity, and the AI can never “unlearn” the music, mixes, sounds, composition, arrangement, orchestration, vocals, etc…

To me this will result in a TOTAL SALE of your property that cuts you, the music producer, out of any and all future royalties.

If Envato was not being so vague and quiet and secretive about the true plans for tracks opted in…They’d announce the good news that would go something like this “Hey Music Authors, We have an amazing opportunity where we will feed the AI your music, and you will get paid a recurring royalty everytime your track is utilized in the final output from the end user. We are commencing this program with full transparency, where you will see daily metrics and earnings from this new way for end users to create music”

In other words, if the business model can not be structured the way it was in 2007 where a music license sold, and a digital copy of the sound recording was downloaded by a customer upon purchase, for synchronization, that equaled a royalty paid to the author.

Can this new AI music model be structured this way?
A “Creation/ Usage” of one’s composition to create a “new music output” by way of “generative AI”…That should = a royalty paid to the author. Don’t you think? Is that not Fair?

Can AI models even create these kinds of Metrics where the original/ human author is properly credited and paid a royalty?

The answer is probably not at this point. But what do I know?

Look at the facts as we see them right in front of our face: SUNO and UDIO scraped the internet and learned from the entire history of recorded music to create their technology: Generative AI Music. The outputs are all derived from previously existing copyrights. They never obtained permission to use those copyrights to create their product. They are being sued for $150,000 a track

So Everyone has to put a concrete number on the sale of your property, because If AI wins this battle, there is no need for your skill set ever again as we move forward into the future.

This is really what is at stake here from my perspective.

One year ago, executives at music publishing companies and stock media sites would say “no one really knows where this is going…” But after using Udio and Suno for 3 months now, I can see VERY CLEARLY where this is going.

The technology is basically trying to steal everyone’s music copyrights for $0 so new AI platforms and services can be brought to market that enable the founders and investors of those companies to never pay a royalty ever again.

They need music data, and lots of it to train the AI models. They seem to be willing to pay a one time license fee to get the rights to ingest the music. But again, once that happens, well composers…I ask all of you…What is in it for you? How do YOU benefit financially from this “exciting” new technology that essentially renders you as “OBSOLETE”…not needed…

My gut tells me that unless governments and courts step in and rule that this endeavor is illegal, and breaches copyrights and orders Generative Music AI sites to shut down…I’d say that we are done and urgently need to go find another career.

This is the way I see it and many others do too.

Now, I do not think this will happen over night as buyer behavior takes about 2 to 3 years to change. But everyone reflect back on the birth of Elements. Once that subscription model was embraced by foolish music producers and then end consumers, most clients migrated to the cheaper solution : Pay $10 a month for unlimited downloads of 1,000,000 tracks. That model won the hearts of production music users. Soon Generative AI music will win because it will be offered at an even lower price, and most likely will sound just as good as our human created works.

Bottom line is this: Our careers are finished. Stock Music Producers will not be needed ever again. There will not be an opportunity to earn recurring royalties from our music unless governments and courts ruling on these cases step up and fast. We all need to have a legal strategy to fight for the rights of our Intellectual Property.that we all individually own.

I will listen to any and all counter arguments with an open mind, but the future does not look bright by any means.

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Hi all. I’m back from leave today, and have been catching up on the comments in this thread since last Friday. I’ll be raising any new questions with the team tomorrow, and will get another update for you soon.

I’ve moved some posts about Motion Array’s terms into a new thread - while I can see how they’re related in comparison to Envato, I think they’re different enough to be worth splitting off to a separate topic.

(Speaking of which, there’s no restriction on brand names in these forums any more, and hasn’t been for some time - so you don’t need to self-censor marketplace names in here)

@MeGustaMusic @WormwoodMusic If you complete the opt-out Google Form, you’ll receive an email with a copy of your responses. After July 29 we’ll be closing that form, and finalising the list of author accounts that have opted out.

@SteelSound I’ll be closing that form in the Melbourne, Australia (GMT +10) time zone.

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Glad to hear that.
But please, hurry up a bit :slight_smile: Because the deadline for this important decision is only a couple of weeks away. Maybe you guys may consider postponing it a bit, to give both yourself and the authors more time to do it right?

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If Envato can not promise a recurring royalty model there is no valid offer to authors in this scheme.

If the only offer is a one time payment from an AI company that wants to ingest your music into their AI learning model to learn form your soundtracks, descriptions, and keywords, Guess what music authors: YOU LOSE! FOREVER!

Why do I claim that?

Because you have given away your music property forever to AI to learn from your intellectual property. This is no different than allowing your IP to be copied and reproduced and re-licensed forever, perpetually, without any further payments required to you.

Please understand how serious your decision is: Once the AI model swallows your music and learns from it, this event is eternal. You have essentially given away your copyrights. It really is akin to selling your property. Your property really is no longer yours once it gets into the AI’s computer server or data center.

Do you all understand that?

Your wave files are headed over to Big Data Centers, most likely the into a NVIDA BLACKWELL Architecture

Your Property then effectively becomes the property of the company that will use your music to create new outputs that will compete directly against your existing portfolio (For most likely a much cheaper price). Those new music outputs / renderings will enable a customer to go on air in broadcast TV with that “AI Generated music file” and no royalty will be owed to a human author.

Do you all see what is really happening here?

Future Royalties, the lifeline of our entire economic existence and livlihood, is under hostile attack by “AI”. If companies no longer have to pay royalties to human beings, well they certainly do become a lot more profitable when they sell “AI Generated” Music. The largest cost for companies like Envato and other stock music sites is the royalty obligations they must pay to real people, month after month. It’s quite obvious to me that the “real goal” being discussed in Wall Street board rooms is to eliminate those monthly payment obligations to music authors.

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It would be interesting to hear from the graphic community what happened since their terms changed over a year ago.

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I have been thinking about that too, but the reality is that companies still need “Graphic Artists” to generate their marketing materials. Whether those graphic artists do their work with AI images or not is irrelevant. They still have a job to do and that is to generate marketing materials for companies and brands and products, etc…

Companies we dance with, more specifically, TV Networks, video editors, film makers, youtube creators, marketing agencies, in house producers, post houses, advertising agencies, corporations, small businesses, individual creators, etc… who need to create visual content and use music for their content will soon be faced with an option it seems:

  1. Use a sound recording that was created by a real human being and pay them a royalty

  2. Use a sound recording that was NOT created by a human being but rather use an AI generated track where NO ROYALTY IS OWED to a human being.

When you analyze the offering in these simplistic terms, you can clearly see the massive destruction and devastation that is in the future for music producers. The stakes are extremely high. There is no doubt in my mind that the end goal of “Generative AI Music” is to eliminate royalty payments to human beings. The irony is that the AI devil first needs us to “legally, contractually, consensually, and willfully” feed them the goods (our copyrighted music property and titles and keywords, and descriptions) to create their monster that will bury us into the dungeon of total irrelevance and obsolecence.- Obsolescence is **the process of becoming antiquated, out of date, old-fashioned, no longer in general use, or no longer useful,

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True, the way I see it a lot of jobs might be at stake. I digress a bit but let’s say you’re a marketing manager or accountant. Technically your log of work can be reviewed by AI and at the end of the month you’re being told that according to AI you should have done X, Y and Z.

In the end a lot of what remains is based on trust. Do you trust AI to calculate specifics for building an office without a human expert reviewing it? Over time maybe but right now laws and people still prefer actual human contact and guarantees I guess.
Do you trust AI to do your taxes? Maybe over time.

If you’re a big film studio and about to release a trailer, do you trust AI to make a score for it? Or do you go to a veteran music producer to get it done?

When a building collapses you know that the building wasn’t safe. When a movie trailer generates 2 million views you can’t really know if with different music it would have generated 10 million views or just 500k.
Maybe AI knows in retrospect:)

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6 posts were merged into an existing topic: Music and AI tools - discussion thread

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Music and AI tools - discussion thread

Hi all. I have some more answers to add to this thread today - also note that as with the previous update, I’ve also added today’s FAQs to the first post at the top of this thread, so they are easier to find.

Why are we doing this now?

By providing Audio authors with the ability to opt-out of third-party arrangements by July 29, we will have clarity over the total number and types of audio items that we can explore third-party licensing and distribution deals for, from August onwards.

Our industry is undergoing significant disruption, and the current opportunities are changing rapidly. There will be potential for new ways to generate revenue and earnings for our Author community. But in order to effectively pursue these new opportunities and beat the competition, we need the ability to move quickly and adapt. This is the first step in that journey.

What do you mean by “third party arrangements”?

This term covers any use of the content you license through Envato, on sites outside of our ecosystem. As discussed in our Author Hub article, this could include:

  • Developing generative AI models
  • Augmenting a partner’s content offering with our library
  • Integrating content into creative tools

A note on partnership selection, scale and speed:

It’s important to note that we are working to ensure that any potential partnership offers worthwhile benefits to all parties: we’re looking for partnerships that are complementary to our primary business, involve working with reputable companies, and can generate meaningful income for both Envato and the Author community. This takes time, as we will not jump at every potential offer.

While selecting partners to work with is a slow process, when discussions do commence things can move very quickly. This is why we need to establish a clear number of items that we have permission to use in third-party arrangements.

At the stage when a deal is under consideration, it will not be possible to go back to adjust the content that is available. The Envato community involves thousands of Authors and millions of items, and the process of contacting and seeking usage permissions from our full community takes several weeks. This is why we’re establishing permission up front, so that our commercial teams can move quickly later on.

Would third-party earnings be ongoing or one-off payments?

Both options are possible, and would depend on the specific partner and their usage. Without having full details of future arrangements, we cannot provide you with details of fee structures. Compensation and the share will be subject to the terms negotiated with third party partners, but our intention will always be to ensure those terms are as favourable as possible.

Can authors who use virtual instruments and sample libraries license their music for AI training?

Envato cannot give advice on the T&Cs of the range of tools that may be used by our authors. If you are unsure whether your tools allow the license of your music tracks (“derivative works”) for AI training, we recommend that you check directly with those tools to confirm what is permitted.

I’ll continue taking all questions raised here to the project team, and will post another update next week. We’ll also be sending a reminder email, and publishing an Author Dashboard announcement for AudioJungle.

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Ben with all due respect, but these are pretty much the same answers from the start of this thread, nothing new…

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