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Artifical intelligence is changing the way music is created. Is it a threat to music creators or is there a way to take advantage of it?

Artificial intelligence has become increasingly popular in recent years and the music industry isn’t safe from it. Whether it be creating new songs or having artists sing songs that they wouldn’t otherwise, AI is making the impossible possible. 

“Heart On My Sleeve” is a song that used AI to clone the voices of Drake and The Weeknd. It is no longer available on Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and Tidal, and it’s currently in the process of being pulled from TikTok and Youtube. Though some versions of the song remain available. 

The song imitates Drake and The Weeknd going back and forth about pop star and actress Selena Gomez, who formerly dated The Weeknd. After being released, it was streamed 629,439 times on Spotify. 

“These instances demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists,” said Universal Music Group, which publishes both artists through Republic Records. “We’re encouraged by the engagement of our platform partners on these issues as they recognize they need to be part of the solution.” 

Neither artist has responded to the track, but Drake recently expressed his dislike of a fan-made video in which he appears to be rapping the Ice Spice track “Munch (Feeling U)”. 

“This is the final straw AI,” said Drake on Instagram.  

Drake and The Weeknd aren’t the only artists to fall victim to AI. TikTok user @justinbernardez_ posted a video on Sunday that simulates the late artist XXXTENACION singing “Golden Hour” by JVKE. It received 1.5 million likes and 8.2 million views in the first two days. 

Expect debate in the near future over the legality of such simulations, specifically around whether AI mimicking a star’s voice by processing their past audio recordings is an infringement of copyright or not.  

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which works to protect the interest of the recording industry, highlighted “serious concerns” being had in the music industry about AI in a recent report. Some people are worried that AI could be used “to cover songs and attempt to replace artists”. 

AI being used to create music is nothing new though. The first score composed by an electronic computer, the Bach-inspired “Illiac Suite”, was done in 1958.  

AI-created and AI-assisted music has been popping up on digital music platforms for years now. Boomy, a startup company that specializes in AI-powered music making, said that its users have created over 12 million songs since its launch in 2019. 

In reference to the potential impact of AI on the music industry in the next years to come, William Packer, a media and tech analyst for BNP Paribas Exane, wrote that “AI is a new disruptive threat” where “a glass half full industry narrative is holding… for now”. 

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