Paul McCartney: Thanks to AI, we will soon have a final Beatles song

A final Beatles song has been made with the help of AI and will be released this year.
Sejal Sharma
Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney

Wikimedia Commons 

Much to the dismay of the anti-AI brigade, Sir Paul McCartney doesn’t find it all that weird that artificial intelligence (AI) has duplicated and replicated The Beatles’ old songs and made some new ones too.

In fact, in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, the 80-year-old maestro revealed that a final Beatles song was made with AI's help and will be released this year.

Regarding the song, McCartney said, “It was a demo that John had worked on, and we just finished it up… We were able to take John’s voice and get it pure through this AI. So, then we could mix the record as you would normally do.”

Although he did not name the song, it is assumed that it would be a 1978 John Lennon composition called Now And Then, according to a BBC report.

Take a sad (and old) song and make it better

McCartney also recalled that during the shooting of the 2021 documentary series ‘The Beatles: Get Back,’ director Peter Jackson was able to ‘extricate’ Lennon’s voice for clean audio. McCartney referred to artificial intelligence as ‘that kind of a thing.’

“He (Peterson) was able to extricate John’s voice from a ropey little bit of cassette which had John’s voice and a piano. He could separate them with AI. They tell the machine, ‘that’s the voice, this is a guitar, lose the guitar’ and he did that.”

Interesting Engineering had earlier reported that efforts are being made through artificial intelligence to recreate the early Beatles, making McCartney’s voice sound younger and quite literally bringing Lennon’s voice back from the grave. But most of those videos were taken down by YouTube after Universal Music Group (UMG) intervened, citing a copyright claim.

When BBC Radio 4’s Martha Kearney asked McCartney if he's heard the AI renditions, he said, “I dont hear that much because I am not on the internet that much. But people will say to me there’s a track where you know John’s singing one of my songs, and it is just AI.”

While the AI renditions may be gratifying for The Beatles’ fans, it’s an issue the music industry is tackling now. There have been fake AI songs that have made their way to popular streaming platforms like Spotify and YouTube. And then song distributors have had to get these songs pulled down from the streaming services.

McCartney said that while AI gives the music industry some leeway, it’s also exciting because it’s the future. “So there’s a good side to it and then there’s a scary side. And we’ll just have to see where that leads.”

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