Fake AI song by Drake and The Weeknd pulled down from streaming services

The song had already been streamed 600,000 times on Spotify by the time it was taken down.
Sejal Sharma
Drake and The Weeknd during a performance.
Drake and The Weeknd during a performance.

Ollie Millington/Getty Images 

A song named ‘Heart On My Sleeve’ with AI-generated cloned voices of Drake and The Weeknd went viral over the weekend after an anonymous Tiktok user @ghostwriter977 posted the song on Friday. This was a new account that instantly blew up with millions of views overnight.

The incident since then has drawn sharp criticism from Universal Music Group (UMG), which distributes the works of both artists. The record label urged streaming platforms Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, etc to take down the song. By the time the song was taken off Spotify, it had already garnered 600,000 listens.

BBC reported that it was initially removed from Apple, Tidal, and Deezer on Monday before TikTok, YouTube, and Spotify were asked to remove it.

The AI track is apparently about singer and actor Selena Gomez, who allegedly has dated The Weeknd previously. The song is a simulation of uncannily similar voices of The Weeknd and Drake, trading verses about Gomez.

AI vs the music industry

The creator going by the name ghostwriter has claimed that the song was created by software trained on the voices of the musicians’. A YouTube video of the fake song had over 275,000 views, with a comment from a ghostwriter: “This is just the beginning.”

UMG told Billboard that the viral posting of the song “demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists.”

In a strongly worded statement against the AI technology, UMG further told Billboard 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.”

Only last week, UMG sent emails to online streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and others to not let AI companies access copyrighted music, “without obtaining the required consents”, to train their machines. 

This process of training the machines involves feeding them huge numbers of songs. Ever since the advent of ChatGPT in November last year, there are new AI tools being developed every day. Now voices in the music industry are speaking up against AI-generated music exploiting and infringing the copyrights of many artists. Whereas, top DJ David Guetta recently said ‘the future of music is in AI’ after he used AI music software to add Eminem’s vocals to a recent song.

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