It sounds like a collaboration between two of the biggest names in music. But the latest song to take Spotify and social media by storm has been generated by artificial intelligence (AI), using machine learning software to clone the artists’ voices, in a development that has sparked alarm in the music industry.
“Heart on My Sleeve,” featuring what appear to be the voices of the platinum-selling artists Drake and The Weeknd, has garnered more than 20 million views and listens across TikTok, Twitter and Spotify.
It is not the first song to experiment with the technology. There exists a version of Adele’s “Easy on Me” purporting to be sung by Kanye West, while Rihanna’s voice has been cloned on a cover version of a song by Beyonce. Several websites offer services that allow fans to create new songs using the voices of music’s biggest stars.
However, “Heart on My Sleeve” is the most successful so far and with a sound closest to the real thing. In the latest example of AI’s ability to mimic real life, Drake and The Weeknd seemingly exchange lyrics about the pop star and actress Selena Gomez, who the former previously dated.
Listen to the track here:
The track’s anonymous creator, calling themselves “Ghostwriter”, wrote under its YouTube upload: “This is just the beginning.”
The release follows attempts by Universal Music Group (UMG), whose roster includes both Drake and The Weeknd, to persuade streaming platforms to clamp down on AI-generated music.
Nick Stewart, a music industry veteran who signed U2 to Island Records, is chief executive of TCAT, a technology company that deals with music piracy. “AI is clearly one of the most serious threats to hit the music business in terms of piracy for a very long time.
Rolling Stone magazine lambasted the AI-generated song saying “shaping up to be the largest disruptor to the music industry since digital downloads.”
“Ghostwriter” appeared on TikTok hidden beneath a white sheet. They claimed: “I was a ghostwriter for years and got paid close to nothing for major labels to profit. The future is here.”
Neither Drake nor The Weeknd have acknowledged the track’s existence. They have collaborated in real life, prompting speculation that “Heart on My Sleeve” could even be a publicity stunt.
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