The death of the artist in the era of AI
Last week, the song “Heart On My Sleeve” went viral on social media. It is a song generated by artificial intelligence that mimics the voices of Drake and The Weeknd. The song simulates a conversation between the two stars about pop star and actress Selena Gomez, who previously had a relationship with The Weeknd. To the untrained ear, the song could be directly from Drake’s discography. The song has now been viewed millions of times on TikTok and has been listened to more than 250,000 times on Spotify. In one of the comments under the clips, maker ghostwriter977 says he is “here to shake up the music industry.” Responders call it “a modern Napster moment.”
Singer Drake is one of the most cloned artists online in the world. In a now-deleted Instagram story, he expressed his dissatisfaction with an AI version of himself: “It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Record label Universal Music Group has already spoken out about this new phenomenon. They urged streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple not to grant artificial intelligence access to their platforms to prevent melodies, lyrics, and texts from being copied to train AI models. As a direct result of this policy, the fake song has now been removed from streaming services.
Not everyone is prepared for the speed at which these technologies are developing. Last year, Europol published a report stating that by 2026, more than 90% of all information on the internet will be generated by artificial intelligence. This is a warning of the impending infocalypse, an internet without humans. Everything becomes one big generated remix of images, text, and sound, blurring the line between fan and artist. In fact, the artist risks being left out of the creative process. In response to this trend, several musicians have started an initiative called the “Human Artistry Campaign” to draw attention to the issues surrounding generative AI.
For the near future, it is important to make the right ethical considerations about how far technology can go and where boundaries should be set. The recognition and appreciation of the unique talents and skills of artists and the protection of their creative property will determine the future direction of the music industry. AI offers new creative possibilities, but also brings new challenges and responsibilities.
Want to try it out yourself? Check out Musicfy, Covers.ai, or Superdub.
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About Sander Duivestein
Sander Duivestein (1971) is a highly acclaimed and top-rated trendwatcher, an influential author, an acclaimed keynote speaker, a digital business entrepreneur, and a strategic advisor on disruptive innovations. His main focus is the impact of new technologies on people, businesses and society.
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