Steve Marriott's Kids Fight to Stop AI-Generated Songs

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A long list of artists including Robert Plant, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, Peter Frampton, Bryan Adams and more have joined the late British singer Steve Marriott's children and bandmates to perform AI-generated versions of his voice. opposed the release of “new” recordings. The former frontman of Small Faces and Humble Pie (and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee) was one of the most influential rock singers of the 1960s, singing “All or Nothing,” “Tin Soldier,” “Atchico Park.” ” as the songs were famous for. “I don't need a doctor” and more. He died in a fire in 1991 at the age of 44.

The AI-generated recordings, said to be incomplete, were authorized by Marriott's third wife, Toni Marriott, whom he married two years before his death. Marriott's main surviving former bandmates – Kenny Jones of Small Faces and Peter Frampton and Jerry Shirley of Humble Pie – signed a statement opposing the release of Marriott's daughter Molly and her three siblings. Support by, Plant, Gilmour, Paul Weller, Paul Rogers, Bryan Adams, Glenn Hughes, Gary Kemp and others.

“Marriott Estate is about to release an AI solo album of old and new songs by my father Steve,” Molly Marriott said in a statement. “Sadly, the surviving family, which only includes my siblings Leslie, Toby, Tonya and myself, have no connection to the estate as there was no will. It is run by my stepmother who is She was with my father for only two years before his death and has since remarried.

“We, along with his bandmates of Humble Pie and Small Faces, are trying to stop this album from happening because it would be a stain on my father's name. Someone who is one of the greatest singers of our generation. was known as, with such a raw and raw voice, it would have absolutely broken his heart to know that if he were alive, it was only for the money, not the art or the praise.

“This is the beginning of a campaign that I want to lead against this kind of thing, where dead artists have no rights and that everything natural in this world is really disappearing, including creativity and the arts. As AI comes into play.”

Robert Plant said, “This is a far cry from what any of us dreamed of when we set out into this wonderful world of music. We can't stand by and watch it unfold.

Contacted by variety, Chris France, managing director of Marriott Estates since 1997, said: “There are currently no confirmed plans to use Steve Marriott's voice on an AI recording,” adding, “This does not mean That no deal will be done with one of them. Several suitors who have made offers… I'm afraid. [Mollie Marriott’s] The opinion does not affect me or his property.”

The estates of most major musicians are often – in fact, usually – plagued by disputes between family members, bandmates, business associates and others, especially when the artist dies without a valid will. Yet the emergence of AI has added a whole new wrinkle to an already complex situation.

Because Marriott had died without a will, under British law her estate would go entirely to Tony Marriott rather than to her children (each of whom had different mothers, none of whom Tony Marriott is not). The two parties reportedly had a contentious relationship over the years, though former Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley said Variety that he has had a generally positive and productive relationship with France when working with him on archival releases;

Marriott's business affairs were in a state of disarray at the time of his death, due to the often unconventional business dealings of key managers in his more than three-decade career: Don Arden, Andrew Logue Oldham and D'Anthony. Shirley credits Frans with bringing Marriott's estate to financial health and ensuring that it made money mostly through archival releases and streaming, but notes that Frans worked under Tony Marriott's direction. does.

Unlike her former bandmates – including Marriott – Shirley retained her royalty rights from the band and said she now fully owns the rights to the Humble Pie name. Although any dealings involving the group's name or recordings must be approved by Marriott as well, Marriott has no control over the singer's recordings outside of Humble Pie.

Shirley explains. Variety Late last year, he received an email from Los Angeles-based independent label Cleopatra Records, which had released some of his Humble Pie releases, much to his satisfaction, to renew his contract. About. “Buried in the renewal agreement,” he says, was a new paragraph addressing AI.

At first, “I didn't know what it was, to be honest with you,” he says. “But at last I realized what it meant, [France] confirmed it, and I said, 'I don't want anything to do with it.'

In an attempt to prove that AI-produced recordings would be unsatisfactory, Shirley suggested that Cleopatra try an AI version of the R&B classic “Hallelujah I Love Her So” made famous by Ray Charles, for example. of He would then compare the result to a rough, unreleased recording he had of the song that Marriott recorded in the 1960s.

Shirley says the AI ​​recording was “terrible”. “It sounded like someone trying to sound like someone trying to sound like Steve Marriott.” He says the company sent him another attempt, which “sounded like a bad soul singer.” “But it didn't sound like Steve. And the backing track was just laughable. (Shirley shared MP3s of the recording.) Variety: The first version is pretty mediocre and looks like an unimpressive run-through. The second is better, but neither is revelatory.)

He says the terms of the proposed deal would have brought Shirley “about $20,000” upon signing, along with other future royalties he says. But he said, “I'm not interested.”

Contacted by variety, A representative for Cleopatra Records said in an email: “Regarding the Steve Marriott AI project, we had discussions with his estate about completing some of his unfinished demos with the help of AI technology. However, we Finally chose to release these recordings in their original form: 'Steve Marriott – Get Down to It 1973-1977'; 'Steve Marriott – Poor Man's Rich Man 1978-1987'; Out of the Blue 1987-1991.' France said that while no deal currently exists for AI Recordings, “that doesn't mean a deal won't be made.” [Cleopatra] or one of several suitors who have made an offer.”

Molly Marriott was outraged at the news of the planned demo release. However, Shirley says he believes at least one of the sets is actually a Humble Pie recording, which he would have to approve.

Of the situation, Molly Marriott says, “It's a sad world to see.”

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