April 13, 2024
Unleash The Archers Respond to Blowback Over AI Art in Their Latest Video

These days it seems like you can’t get away from the debate about AI-generated content no matter where you go. From deepfakes to harmless ad copy, artificial intelligence is kicking down doors and showing just how fucking creepy and quickly it may replace us all one day. Lately, metal bands have opted to use the tech for their music videos and fans have not liked that at all.

One of the most recent instances of this was the release of Unleash The Archers‘ latest single “Green & Glass,” off their upcoming album Phantoma, as well as its accompanying music video. As you can guess, they used AI and predictably, people got mad.

In response, the band took to social media to post a lengthy statement on the video and their decision to use AI. According to the band, the video’s directors Danny Gayfer and Adam Junio at RuneGate Studio created the video used AI models that used the licensed artwork of Bo Bradshaw. That way, the artist got paid for their art and the AI was able to generate images based on that paid for art.

The band claims their use of licensed art made this particular brand of AI-generated content more “ethical,” but they were surprised they received as much flak as they did. The band stated that though Bradshaw didn’t have any artistic input in the final product, they were able to see the video once it was done.

Here’s the band’s full statement:

“Wow, what a week. There have been a lot of posts and discussion about our new music video and its use of AI, and while we were expecting some controversy, we weren’t expecting as much as we got. Our goal with the video was to create it in a way that credited and compensated all parties while allowing us to utilize a technology relevant to the subject matter of our music to achieve a style that was previously unavailable to a band of our size.

“By licensing the work of an artist to train the models, we thought we had covered this issue, but through posts from the community at large as well as conversations with both Bo and RuneGate, we now know that this is not the case given the process used to make the video.

“The use of Stable Diffusion’s base features, which pull from uncredited source material, means we necessarily used unlicensed work. We don’t think this discredits our intention to only use licensed art, but it’s an important distinction. We also need to make it clear that Bo’s contract with us only stipulated that his work would be provided for us to train AI models for the video.

“We used phrases like ‘artwork by Bo Bradshaw’ in some of our previous social media posts but that’s not a fair characterization of his involvement. Bo did not have artistic input on the animation and while we did send the video to him prior to release asking his thoughts, the video was essentially finished at that point. Bo is going to make a statement tomorrow clarifying his side of this so make sure to check that out if you’ve been following along with everything.

“Our final thought on this is that we genuinely tried to do this in a way that would be ethical. We missed the mark on that, and we hope our missteps in the process of using AI sets better expectations for the next band who tries this. However, there’s a lot more coming from Phantoma that is in line with the work we’re best known for; more headline shows are being announced, the next single drops in March, and we have a few more music videos including a performance video coming from the RuneGate team. Thanks for sticking with this everyone, talk soon!”

Phantoma will be released on May 10 via Napalm Records, but you can preorder your copy today.

The band also have a number of live dates planned from May 3 to September 15, with some breaks in between runs with various festivals and a tour with Powerwolf. You can find dates for all of those below.

Legions of Metal Festival:
5/03 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies

Australia and New Zealand Headliners: 
6/05 – Canberra, AU @ Basement
6/06 – Sydney, AU @ Manning
6/07 – Melbourne, AU @ Croxton
6/08 – Brisbane, AU @ The Zoo
6/09 – Adelaide, AU @ Lion Arts
6/13 – Auckland, NZ @ Galatos
6/14 – Wellington, NZ @ Valhalla

European Festivals:
7/05 – Ballenstedt, DE @ Rock Harz
7/06 – Knislinge, SE @ Time To Rock
7/12 – Visovice, CZ @ Masters Of Rock
7/19 – Laukaa, FI @ John Smith Fest
7/21 – Baile Figa, RO @ Celtic Transylvania
8/02 – Wacken, DE @ Wacken Open Air
8/09 – Villena, ES @ Leyendas Del Rock
8/10 – Walton-On-Trent, UK @ Bloodstock

Supporting POWERWOLF in North America:
8/29 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Hollywood Palladium
8/31 – Denver, CO @ The Ogden Theatre
9/03 – Chicago, IL @ The Riviera Theatre
9/04 – Cleveland, OH @ The Agora Theatre
9/05 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore
9/07 – Tampa, FL @ Jannus Landing
9/08 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
9/09 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
9/12 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
9/13 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
9/14 – New York City, NY @ Brooklyn Paramount
9/15 – Laval, QC @ Place Bell

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