AI Generated Song Goes Viral
In many forms, artificial intelligence has been a trending way to create unique content in vast ways lately. From AI generated photo of The Pope playing basketball to Bernie Sanders DJ’ing, social media has only seen the tip of the iceberg for AI generated images. As for video content, we’ve seen concepts come to life in the form of product videos generated using AI video tools and scripts written with ChatGPT. But, this weekend we saw a whole new form of content catch trending status.
TikTok creator @Ghostwriter997 has contributed to trendsetting in a whole new way. In the past, @ghostwriter997 has worked as a Ghost Writer (one who is employed by a record label to write lyrics for music artists but is not credited for them) for major record labels. Wearing a bedsheet over his head, white gloves, and white glasses to mimic a ghost, this is a satirical jab at the traditional record label industry. With the talent of knowing what lyrics it takes to make a hit based on his ghostwriting career, he took to the notepad to write the new Drake & The Weekend song “Heart On My Sleeve”.
The original video (which was viewed over 2.2 million times on TiKTok this weekend) has since been taken down by record label copyright strikes , but exists here on Twitter below.
Yeah AI is going to do some weird stuff to the music industry. pic.twitter.com/quaaWbduPv
— EsseGotDat (@EsseGotDatHeat) April 15, 2023
From Written Lyrics To Sounding Like Drake & The Weekend
Once the lyrics from the song had been written, GhostWriter977 converted the lyrics into audio using AI software and mimicked the voice of Drake and The Weekend. Once the song was completed, he uploaded it to TikTok, Spotify, and YouTube.
“Heart On My Sleeve” Is Taken Down From Streaming Platforms
From TikTok users to AI aficionados on Twitter, tens of thousands of people are talking about “That AI Drake Song”. At the time of starting this piece (Sunday, April 16, 2023), GhostWriter977’s page on Spotify had brought in over 150,000 streams to the song.
Within 24 hours the song had surpassed 650,000 streams on Spotify and an additional 230,000 on YouTube. Less than 24 hours after taking a screenshot of the Spotify page, the artist’s page and song have been taken down by the record labels.
The Record Labels Respond To The AI Generated Song’s Virality
Within days of the song’s success, label Universal Music Group (UMG) responds to the viral AI-fake Drake & The Weeknd track.
“UMG’s success has been, in part, due to embracing new technology and putting it to work for our artists–as we have been doing with our own innovation around AI for some time already.
With that said, however, the training of generative AI using our artists’ music (which represents both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law) as well as the availability of infringing content created with generative AI on DSPs, begs the question as to which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation.
[This] begs the question as to which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation.”
These instances demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists.
We’re encouraged by the engagement of our platform partners on these issues–as they recognize they need to be part of the solution.”
What does this mean for AI generated content?
One of many ongoing questions circulating in the realm of AI right now is “well, who owns the rights to the content”? In short, artificial intelligence is comprised of machine learning mechanisms that hold up to millions of different data points in the form of images, videos, sound, numbers, data, etc. and use that to create these newly-generated pieces of content. So – does the original creator of the content used to generate new art own the rights, does the new creator, does the machine itself? We will continue to answer that as the industry progresses and regulations are in place.
As for the music industry – this rapidly developing situation poses a few questions I will leave open:
- Who owns the rights to the likeness of an artist’s voice?
- Can independent creatives / creators use popular musician’s voices freely?
- If AI art continues down this path, who can responsibly take home revenue from streams and video views?
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