Drake X The Weeknd Song©

AI-Generated Drake X The Weeknd Song Sparks Debate Online

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

The worryingly rapid rise of Artificial Intelligence across different fields is raising many questions about originality and regulations. From art to literature, AI has managed to pervade all sectors and has given an average Internet user the ability to train software to imitate the style of a creator.

Case in point, a recent AI-generated song that went viral and even garnered a few million streams on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music before it was removed.

An Anonymous TikTok user who goes by the name @ghostwriter created a song in the style of Canadian singers Drake and The Weeknd and shared it online last Friday. The song ‘Heart On My Sleeve’ imitated the vocal and lyrical stylings of the two artists and was nearly indistinguishable from a regular song by the two. The song was promptly removed from the streaming platforms by Universal Music Group (UMG), which publishes the two artists under its subsidiary Republic Records.

UMG has been cracking down on AI-generated music for a while and this latest song has caused the company to raise concerns about AI using its songs to produce more music similar to that of these popular artists.

The Weeknd Performs At Mercedes-Benz Stadium©GettyImages

In a statement to AFP, UMG said that training AI software without artists’ permission “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.”

The company held streaming and social media platforms responsible for allowing these songs to get popular and said, “These instances demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists.”

While many artists condemn the involvement of AI in the process of creating art, there are some who think it is the future. Producer David Guetta recently used AI to add the voice of rapper Eminem to a song for a live show. He said he won’t release it commercially but compared AI to instruments like electric guitar and bass synthesizers that led to revolutions in the music industry.

Do you think AI has a place in the creation of art, especially when it involves infringing upon an artist’s IP?