AI content creation: essential guidelines

Learn how to create content for YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Audible

AI is everywhere - from the social media content we consume to the videos we watch to the tools we use to make our work more efficient.

It's no secret that artificial intelligence has made significant progress over the last few years: advanced AI tools that were once limited to industry leaders and influential figures are now accessible to the general public.

Given the increased availability of advanced AI tools for entertainment and content creation purposes, many artists, writers, video creators, podcasters, and voice actors have embraced optimizing and enhancing their content through such tools.

However, availability isn't synonymous with unregulated use. If you're a content creator looking to incorporate AI into your YouTube videos, podcasts, or narration work, the best course of action is to ensure your content complies with platform guidelines - even if the territory is slightly uncharted.

This article examines the guidelines for using AI in content production, focusing on the most popular platforms: YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Audible.

Let's dive in!

YouTube community guidelines for AI-generated content

Established in 2005, the video-sharing platform YouTube is potentially older than some of our readers (sorry, Gen Z). Nearly two decades later, the YouTube community is stronger than ever, with many new creators joining the platform daily.

Regardless of nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, or even political beliefs, many people find posting and consuming videos on YouTube a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

Moreover, the advancements in AI tools have allowed YouTube creators to streamline their output, increase virality potential, and grow their subscriber counts in a number of days (instead of weeks or months like before). The best part? Those milestones can be achieved with less time, effort, and resources.

From faceless channels to educational content to viral memes, YouTube creators have certainly not been left behind regarding AI tools.

Although AI can be an excellent and practical addition to video content creation, it can also lead to several legal and ethical issues, primarily when used to promote deceptive content, commit identity theft, create deepfakes, or defamation purposes.

YouTube guidelines regarding AI

YouTube spokespersons have expressed a positive outlook on generative AI, saying it can unlock creativity on the platform and transform the experience for creators and viewers. 

However, they've also noted that the use of AI can lead to viewers feeling misled, especially if they're unaware of its use. Additionally, all content uploaded to YouTube should comply with community guidelines regardless of how it's created, meaning that the same rules apply to all videos - AI-generated or not.

Since March 18th, 2024, YouTube has rolled out new guidelines for AI-generated video content to ensure community guidelines are not violated. 

Moving forward, creators will now be required to disclose whether their content includes AI or not in the following cases:

  1. Using the likeness of a realistic person (otherwise known as deepfakes), including altering content to swap a person's face with another's or using voice cloning technology to provide narration.
  2. Using AI to alter footage of actual events or places to mislead viewers (e.g., making a city look different than it does).
  3. Generating scenes that appear realistic, such as a threat of natural disaster or war.

Although YouTube algorithms have been trained to spot and disclose AI content automatically, continuous failure to manually disclose the inclusion of AI in the instances listed above can lead to content removal at best and termination from the YouTube Partner Program at worst.

However, the platform will be more lenient on AI-generated content in cases where it is deemed less consequential, including:

  1. Clearly unrealistic content (for example, a depiction of a fantasy land).
  2. Visual enhancements such as color adjustments, lighting filters, special effects, and beauty filters.

It's important to note that YouTube has expressed that AI content guidelines are still in development and that disclosure is only the beginning.

Moving forward, YouTube will also develop a way for people to request that AI-generated content be removed, especially if it violates their privacy or is considered identity theft.

Tips for AI use on YouTube

To better align with YouTube's community guidelines, we highly recommend video creators disclose the use of AI in the instances detailed above. Although YouTube will not punish you for a couple of mistakes, continuous violations of the platform's new AI disclosure policy leave you at risk for content removal or termination from its Partner Program.

Moreover, most of their community guidelines are common sense, including AI-generated content. Such guidelines prohibit creators from publishing misleading, defamatory, dangerous, harmful, or illegal content, so it's best to avoid such cases entirely.

AI in podcasting: Spotify and Apple podcasts rules

Podcasts - another content category that has taken the world by storm over the last decade. From world-renowned podcasts like "The Joe Rogan Experience" or "Diary of a CEO" to more niche ones on particular topics like dating, true crime, and financial advice, podcasts are widely popular for both learning and relaxation purposes.

Although there are several podcasting platforms to choose from, Spotify and Apple Podcasts are by far the most popular. Thousands of podcast creators are looking to boost their rankings on these platforms and grow their listener bases.

Similar to the YouTube community, the podcast community is also growing as we speak, with many users looking to replicate the popularity and success of some of the more popular creators.

However, just as we discussed for YouTube, platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts have particular guidelines in place regarding AI to avoid harm, misinformation, or the risk of malicious behavior.

Spotify's AI guidelines for podcasters

According to the official Spotify User Guidelines, users need to pay attention to the following points:

  1. Spotify doesn't permit "crawling" or "scraping" the platform to view, access or collect information.
  2. Content published on the platform cannot be used to train a machine learning or AI model or fed into an AI model.

Regarding AI and podcast creation, AI tools can be used for non-consequential purposes, like improving the sound or quality of a recording. However, similar to YouTube guidelines, impersonation is a big no-no (especially regarding music artists).

Spotify's platform rules are generally pretty strict. The platform is quick to remove or ban audio content considered dangerous, deceptive, sensitive, or illegal, all of which can also apply to AI-generated content.

If these rules are violated, Spotify removes the content and can even ban the accounts if the platform rules are repeatedly ignored.

Apple podcasts and AI content

Most of Apple's guidelines for Podcasts and AI-generated content fall under the first section: Inaccurate, Misleading, or Unauthorized Content.

Their official guidelines state the following:

"Artificial Intelligence (AI) Transparency. Creators using AI to generate a material portion of the podcast's audio must prominently disclose this in the audio and metadata for each episode and/or show.

Misleading Use of AI. Creators must not use AI in violation of these guidelines, including to mislead or deceptively portray real-life events in their content (e.g., fabricating news stories or manipulating audio clips to present false narratives)."

Like Spotify, Apple doesn't take kindly to harmful audio content, whether created by a human or generated by AI.

AI in audiobooks: Audible AI audiobook guidelines

Last but not least, audiobooks!

In our busy and occasionally overwhelming period of human history, many people don't have the time to sit and read through an entire book, even if reading is their passion. This is where audiobook-sharing platforms like Amazon's Audible come in to save the day.

Audiobooks have revolutionized how people read (or, shall we say, "listen to") books and provided a practical solution to a real problem. With the wide availability of audiobooks and narrations to choose from, workaholics, tired parents, overwhelmed college students, and individuals with disabilities can continue to enjoy their favorite authors.

Whether listeners wish to catch up on a novel during their daily commutes or fall asleep to their favorite narrator, audiobooks make this possible.

This brings us back to our topic - AI.

AI voice-generation tools like ElevenLabs can be incredibly useful for audiobook narration. Yet, audiobook publishing platforms like Audible have been left in the dark regarding guidelines. 

Here's why.

Audible's AI guidelines for publishers

Before our digital space experienced significant advancements in AI, including voice generation and text-to-speech tools, Audible's submission requirements were relatively straightforward.

According to the official ACX Audio Submission Requirements, all submitted audiobooks must be narrated by a human unless otherwise authorized. Likewise, ACX's website states that the unauthorized use of text-to-speech and automated narrations is prohibited.

Although the guidelines are unambiguous, they don't consider the rapid advancements of text-to-speech and voice-generation tools. In just a few years, we've advanced from robotic-sounding narrations to AI-generated voiceovers barely distinguishable from the real deal.

Due to these advancements, we can expect further changes or clarifications from audiobook-sharing platforms moving forward.

Final thoughts

At this point in the evolution of this new technology, it's evident that AI can be used to enhance creative content, optimize work efficiency, and make people's lives just a little bit easier. However, it's best to approach AI content generation tools with the respect and caution they deserve and use them for creative purposes instead of destructive ones.

If you plan on using AI tools to upgrade your content, be it video creation, podcasting, or audiobook narration, ensure that you are familiar with each platform's guidelines to avoid your content being flagged, taken down, or your account removed entirely.

Tread carefully around anything that may be deemed as sensitive content, including the promotion of self-harm, privacy violations, depictions of nudity or sex, discrimination, and anything involving minors. Likewise, steer clear of creating content that may be considered deceptive, defamatory, fraudulent, misleading, or just downright malicious.

That said, we hope this article provides insight into AI content creation guidelines for some of the most popular platforms.


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