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Robert Plant and David Gilmour lend support to Steve Marriott’s children in battle over AI music with estate

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Robert Plant and David Gilmour have expressed their support for the children of Steve Marriott, who are currently in a battle with his estate over AI-generated music.

The children of the late Humble Pie and Small Faces frontman are currently in a dispute with the singer’s estate to prevent the release of music made by artificial intelligence in his name.

Although no agreements for recordings are yet in place, they claim that the prospect of releasing AI songs replicating the singer’s voice was given the green light by the late musician’s third wife, Toni Marriott, whom he married two years before his death in 1991.

In a statement to Variety, the singer, songwriter and guitarist’s daughter, Mollie, explained why she and her siblings are adamant about preventing the AI-generated recordings from being shared – describing it as “a stain” on her father’s name.

“The Marriott Estate is due to release an AI solo album of old and new songs of my father, Steve. Sadly, the surviving family which comprises just my siblings Lesley, Toby, Tonya, and I, have nothing to do with the Estate as there was no will. It is run by my stepmother who was only with my father for two years prior to his death and has since been re-married,” she said.

The statement added: “We, along with his bandmates of Humble Pie and Small Faces, are looking to stop this album from happening as it would be a stain on my father’s name. Someone who was known as one of the greatest vocalists of our generation, with such a live and raw vocal, it would absolutely break his heart if he were alive to know this. This is only for money, not art nor appreciation.

“It is the start of a campaign I wish to lead against this sort of thing, where deceased artists have no rights and that everything natural in this world is truly dying, including creativity and the arts, as AI comes into play.”

Steve Marriott performs with Humble Pie at the Hyde Park Concert in London, UK, 3rd July 1971. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

As well as Mollie and her siblings, the push has gathered support from rock icons including former Led Zeppelin frontman Plant and Pink Floyd icon Gilmour.

Other iconic musicians backing the efforts include Bryan Adams, Paul Weller, Gary Kemp, Glenn Hughes and Paul Rodgers, as well as Marriott’s former Small Faces and Humble Pie bandmates – the Small Faces’ Kenney Jones, and Humble Pie’s Peter Frampton and Jerry Shirley.

Speaking out about his support, Plant stated (via Far Out): “This is a far cry from what any of us dreamt of when we set off into this wonderful world of music. We just can’t stand by and watch this unfold.”

Responding to the accusations made by the late musician’s children, Chris France – who has been managing director Steve Marriott’s estate since 1997 – told Variety that “there are no confirmed plans to use Steve Marriott’s voice on AI recordings”.

That being said, he was unable to confirm that this wouldn’t change in the future. “That does not mean a deal will not be done with one of several suitors who have made offers,” he told the outlet. “I am afraid that [Mollie Marriott’s] opinions are of no consequence to me or his estate.”

This is a developing story. NME has reached out to a spokesperson for the Steve Marriott estate for comment about the allegations made against Toni Marriott.

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