After raising $125m, AI music generator Suno is now paying its most popular creators

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In the opinion of many, Suno is one of the two most impressive music-generating AI apps available to the public today (the other one being Udio).

In the eight months since it launched to the public, the AI tool that creates full-length songs from verbal prompts has garnered attention from the likes of Rolling Stone, and attracted to it a considerable amount of investor cash, including a recent Series B funding round that brought in USD $125 million, reportedly valuing the company at $500 million.

Within the music industry, there have been questions about the content used to train Suno’s algorithm, which some suspect includes copyrighted music taken without authorization.

In a recent article for MBW, Ed Newton-Rex, the former VP of Audio at Stability AI and the founder of music AI accreditation non-profit Fairly Trained, carried out a forensic analysis suggesting that Suno’s AI has, indeed, been trained on copyrighted materials, including potentially on music by Eminem, Ed Sheeran and ABBA.

One of Suno’s early investors – Antonio Rodriguez of VC firm Matrix Partners – has all but admitted that Suno has, in fact, been trained without permission on copyrighted materials.

Nonetheless, whatever legal problems the AI company may or may not face ahead, its AI tech and music-making platform are forging ahead. Suno recently said 12 million people have used its platform in the less than a year that it’s been available.

Now the company is taking a major step towards building a community – and towards making music creation on its platform commercially viable for its users: it’s launched a program to pay out its most popular music creators.

In a plan announced on its blog at the end of last month, Suno said it plans to pay $1 million between now and the end of the year to creators making music on its platform, starting with a tranche of $100,000 paid out to the 500 highest-ranked tracks made publicly available on the Suno platform in June.

“Summer of Suno” payouts

The “Summer of Suno” program will pay out $10,000 to the highest-ranked track, and $7,500 to the second-highest-ranked track. The amount gradually decreases to a payout of $500 for tracks ranked between 6th and 50th place, $250 for the 51st to 100th track, and $100 for tracks ranked between 101 and 500.

The track’s rankings will be determined “by popularity as measured by a combination of plays, likes and shares,” Suno cofounder Keenan Freyberg wrote on the company blog.

There are a few caveats. For one, creators must be 18 years of age or older, and for another, payments can only be made to creators in 54 countries around the world. Residents of most of the developed world are eligible, but notably Japan is excluded.

Among the most populous countries excluded are India, China, Pakistan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Russia, Ethiopia and the Philippines. Suno provides a complete list of eligible countries on a Google spreadsheet available here.

Additionally, payments will only be made via PayPal, and “if you are unable to accept payment via PayPal, we will not be able to issue your payout, and it will be returned to the pool for future events,” Suno says.

Finally, only one song per creator will be eligible for a payout, as “we want to reach as many creators as possible,” Suno says.

In other words, don’t count on making a living out of creating music on the Suno platform just yet.

Suno encourages creators vying for a “Summer of Suno” payout to share their musical creations on social media, singling out X (formerly Twitter), Instagram and TikTok by name.

The company’s intent is clear: To incentivize users of its platform to do as much as possible to promote their music – and by extension, Suno itself.

The platform is increasingly selling itself as a community, rather than simply as a music creation tool.

“We’ve seen friends exchanging memes, couples trading love songs and streamers co-creating songs with stadium-sized audiences,” Freyberg wrote.

“Some creators make songs for others, while others play, explore and make songs for themselves.”Music Business Worldwide

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