Hozier Contemplates Potential Strike in Response to AI's Impact on Music Industry

Irish musician Hozier contemplates joining a potential strike against the threat of artificial intelligence (AI) to the music industry, drawing parallels with the ongoing Hollywood strike over AI concerns. Hozier questions whether AI qualifies as art and discusses its implications for music creation. The interview also covers shifts in societal perspectives, LGBTQ+ rights, and Hozier's upcoming album release.

Hozier Contemplates Potential Strike in Response to AI's Impact on Music Industry

Irish musician Hozier has expressed his openness to the idea of striking in protest against the perceived threat of artificial intelligence (AI) to the music industry. Presently, Hollywood actors and writers are already engaged in a strike, highlighting their concerns over improved contracts and safeguarding against AI utilization. Hozier conveyed his willingness to participate in comparable strike actions within the music sector, while also questioning whether AI aligns with the definition of art.

During an interview on the BBC's Newsnight, Hozier, also known as Andrew John Hozier-Byrne, shared his thoughts on AI's potential ramifications for music. He acknowledged the ongoing strike in Hollywood where concerns over AI-generated "digital replicas" of actors have come to the forefront.

While Hollywood actors have taken to picket lines, the music industry has yet to follow suit despite the potential for AI to write songs or emulate established artists. Hozier referred to an incident in April when a song employing AI to replicate the voices of artists Drake and The Weeknd was pulled from streaming platforms due to copyright concerns.

When questioned about his willingness to join a strike over AI's impact on music, Hozier affirmed, "Joining in solidarity if there was… action on that? Absolutely." He further delved into the philosophical question of whether AI qualifies as art, suggesting that AI lacks the ability to create based on human experiences, casting doubt on its artistic legitimacy.

The conversation also touched on the recent discussions between Google and Universal Music. According to the Financial Times, the companies are negotiating licensing agreements for AI-generated songs using artists' melodies and voices.

The interview with Hozier extended beyond the realm of AI to address other pertinent topics. Hozier reflected on the passing of fellow Irish singer-songwriter Sinéad O'Connor, discussing the evolution of societal perspectives since O'Connor's notorious 1992 protest against child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Hozier, whose debut single "Take Me to Church" challenged the church's stance on sexual orientation, emphasized the changing landscape of sensibilities and taboos over time. He pondered whether his debut single's message remains pertinent today, noting shifts in LGBTQ+ rights and the threats that still loom over marginalized communities.

Addressing his stance on performing in countries with repressive policies against minorities, Hozier called the matter "a tricky one." He noted that repression exists globally and referenced an event he declined to attend due to Russian state sponsorship. He humorously recounted being invited to perform in the Vatican City, stating he had turned down the offer to sing "Take Me to Church."

Hozier's interview took place on Newsnight, serving as his sole UK broadcast interview ahead of his upcoming album release, "Unreal Unearth." Inspired partly by Dante's Inferno and the pandemic's impact, the album is set to launch on August 18th.