1973: Album cover of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon released in 1973. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Pink Floyd Rewards AI-Generated Video in ‘Dark Side of the Moon’s 50th Anniversary Animation Competition

Pink Floyd has celebrated The Dark Side of the Moon’s 50th anniversary by awarding an AI-generated video a prize of £10,000, and fans of the band, as well as those generally against generative AI programs, are none too pleased.

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As a band, Pink Floyd is just as renowned for their creative and eye-catching visuals as they are for their music. The Dark Side of the Moon boasts one of the most iconic album covers of all time, so hosting an animation competition to celebrate such a massive milestone should have been a rousing success. Animators could submit up to 10 videos, or one video per song on the album, for a chance of winning £100,000 for first prize, while other selected entries would win £10,000 each.

The competition, which closed for entries on December 31, 2023, was judged by an expert panel of animators, illustrators, artists, writers, producers, and directors, including Anton Corbijn, an acclaimed film and music video director, Gerald Scarfe, a cartoonist whose work has been published in The Sunday Times and The New Yorker, Daisy Jacobs, a BAFTA-winning English animator, as well as six other equally talented, celebrated creatives.

Unfortunately, one of the competition’s winning submissions was an obviously AI-generated video featuring a guitar-shaped planet for the song “Any Colour You Like.” The video’s creator, Damián Gaume, explained his AI process in a YouTube video released as part of the winner’s announcement. You can watch the video below.

In the video, Gaume briefly mentions that he is a 3D artist himself, but that he wanted to “go a completely different way” for this competition, so he turned to Stable Diffusion to create the video for him instead.

Most of the comments on the video echo one another. YouTube user @nbeutler1134 wrote, “AI ‘art’ shouldn’t even be qualified to contend. What a joke.” Another user, @lGiganticusl, said, “Congratulations judges, you handed the win over to a scammer!” and YouTuber @Sobercapybara wrote, “You took the spotlight away from someone who put REAL work into this video, shame on you!”

Over on X (formerly Twitter), people were no less critical of the judges’ decision. Many called out the blatant artistic theft that happens as a result of generative AI, while others spoke of how unfair it was for an AI-generated piece to win over the work of an animator who would have spent hundreds of hours perfecting their concept.

As AI companies prepare to invade the creative industries even further, a band and brand as well-respected, talented, and frankly powerful as Pink Floyd choosing to reward an AI-generated video in an animation competition, which is one of the toughest artistic industries to break into, feels especially egregious. David Gilmour and Roger Waters may not have selected the winners themselves, but this panel of experts did—how can independent artists fight back against a wave of AI programs if those with influence in the industry won’t decry its use?

(featured image: photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images/Pink Floyd/Capitol Records)


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El Kuiper
El (she/her) is The Mary Sue's U.K. editor and has been working as a freelance entertainment journalist for over two years, ever since she completed her Ph.D. in Creative Writing. El's primary focus is television and movie coverage for The Mary Sue, including British TV (she's seen every episode of Midsomer Murders ever made) and franchises like Marvel and Pokémon. As much as she enjoys analyzing other people's stories, her biggest dream is to one day publish an original fantasy novel of her own.