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Universal Music to Create AI-Powered Content

Universal Music Group said Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with Germany-based company Endel to provide artists with artificial-intelligence technology to generate music for activities like sleep, relaxation, and focus.

Universal, the world's largest music company and the record label behind the Weeknd, Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift, said it would harness Endel's proprietary AI technology to enable its artists to create science-backed combinations of sounds, also known as soundscapes, including new music and new versions of catalog music.

"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," said Michael Nash, who oversees Universal's digital business development activities.

The record label said it would unveil the first wave of soundscapes under the new agreement in the coming months. Endel previously worked with artist James Blake at Universal's Republic Records label and Blake's ambient "Wind Down" soundscape was released as an album in May last year.

The extended partnership with Universal comes as the advent of language-generating artificial-intelligence tools, such as ChatGPT, ignited a debate over the future of human labor across industries, including the role of artists.

"Endel allows music companies like UMG to draw on the astounding capabilities of AI and functional music while respecting their artists' rights," said Endel Chief Executive Oleg Stavitsky. "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."

Universal didn't disclose financial terms of the agreement.