Universal Music Group has responded to today’s dominant music industry news story: That a track featuring AI-replicated Drake ‘vocals’ has gone viral, not only on social media, but also on music streaming platforms.
The track, heart on my sleeve, credited to the ‘artist’ ghostwriter, has racked up more than 230,000 plays on YouTube, and more than 625,000 plays on Spotify.
In addition to AI-replicated vocals of Drake, the track – a seemingly original composition – also features AI-replicated vocals of The Weeknd’s voice.
Both Drake and The Weeknd release their (real life) records via UMG and its Republic Records.
Said UMG in a statement to MBW in the wake of today’s news: “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.”
Ghostwriter’s self-uploaded video clips on TikTok, all featuring the song, have now cumulatively racked up more than 15 million plays.
In addition to heart on my sleeve, the past few days has seen more tracks released featuring AI-generated vocals copying the voices of UMG-affiliated superstars.
One of those tracks is a cover version of Ice Spice’s risqué 2022 hit Munch (Feelin’ U), on which the vocals are ‘performed’ by a different AI copycat of Drake’s voice.
Drake himself took to Instagram over the weekend to label it “the final straw”.
Another track sees an AI replication of Rihanna’s vocal cover Beyoncé’s hit, Cuff It.Music Business Worldwide