That’s right, the moment movies like Will Smith’s I, Robot have warned us about is finally here: computers are taking over the world, or maybe just the music industry. Within the last week, music fans everywhere were shocked to learn that the viral song “Heart on My Sleeve” was released on all streaming platforms, not because their favorite artists Drake and The Weeknd collaborated on the track, but because it actually wasn’t them at all.
Advances in AI have gotten to the point where the technology can quickly create new songs that sound like they’re the work of real artists. It has left fans, artists, labels and lawyers wondering how far this technology can go and the legal representation it will attain. As of now, the record label Universal Music Group, which represents both Drake and The Weeknd, has made a public statement claiming that “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.” There’s also a risk that this AI technology could create lyrics that are much more controversial and potentially damaging to a singer’s reputation.
The song, created by the artist currently known as Ghostwrider, famously known for their appearance wearing a white sheet with dark glasses, is continuing to release more viral hits including similar vocals from artists like Bad Bunny, Rhianna and more, despite their content continuously being taken down. It’ll be interesting to see how AI continues to evolve and what legal repercussions for artists like Ghostwrider will face.