Drake and The Weeknd's voices were heard in one of the most popular songs that was recently trending on TikTok. There's an interesting twist, however: Drake and The Weeknd don't appear to be involved.
Ghostwriter977 is an anonymous TikTok User who has created the viral track 'Heart on my Sleeve' by using artificial intelligence. He claims that he generated the voices of Drake, the Weeknd, and other celebrities for the track.
Ghostwriter977 said in the comments of the video: 'I worked as a ghostwriter and was paid almost nothing for major labels' profit. The future is now.
In just a few short days, 'Heart on my Sleeve" received more than 11,000,000 views on several videos and was streamed hundreds of thousands of time on Spotify. The TikTok original video appears to have been removed, and since then, the song has been removed from all streaming services, including YouTube, Apple Music, and Spotify. (TikTok did not reply to requests for comments from Apple, Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube.)
Some have speculated that the song could be a publicity stunt. The incredible popularity of 'Heart on my Sleeve,' however, may add to the fear in the music industry about the threat that could be posed by the new AI tools on the marketplace.
Universal Music Group, which represents Drake, The Weeknd, and many other stars, sent an urgent letter to streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Music in April, asking that they block AI platforms training on the melody and lyrics of their copied songs.
The company stated in a recent statement to CNN that 'the training of generative artificial intelligence using our artists' songs is both a violation of our agreements as well as a violation copyright laws. As well, the fact that infringing digital content created by generative AI can be found on service providers, begs the questions of which side in history stakeholders want to be: on the side for artists, fans, and human creativity, or on the other side, which advocates deep fakes and fraud, and denies artists their
The record label stated that platforms have "a fundamental ethical and legal responsibility to prevent their services being used in ways which harm artists."
It may be difficult to stop AI-generated music. The legal landscape of AI-generated music is unclear. However, tools for creating it are readily available and social media has made it easier to distribute than ever before.
Unknown creators and powerful AI tools
AI-generated music has been around for a while. Taryn's debut track 'Break Free', which was composed with AI and produced, reached the Top 100 Radio Charts in 2018. VAVA is an AI artist. Not a human, but a song is currently available in Thailand.
New AI tools make it easier to create convincing audio, video, and written content. Boomy, for example, uses generative AI specifically to make music more accessible.
It's unclear who created the Ghostwriter977 track or what tools were used. CNN's request for comment was not answered by the user.
A link in the bio section of a user's TikTok profile directs users to Laylo.com, where fans can sign-up to receive notifications from artists about new songs, merchandise, and tickets. CNN reported that the account was likely created to increase its fan base, and 'tens' of thousands of people signed up in the last few days.
Laylo CEO Alec Ellin has denied that Laylo was responsible for the viral track. However, Ellin said to CNN that whoever made it was "clearly a very savvy creator" and described it as 'a great example of how Laylo can help you own your audience.
Michael Inouye of ABI Research said that 'Heart on my Sleeve could have been produced in a variety of ways, depending on the sophistication and musical talent of the AI.
He said that if music artists had been involved, they would have created the background music, lyrics and voice samples. The AI model then could be taught to mimic the voices and singing style of Drake and The Weekend. The AI could have also generated the lyrics, and a majority of the song based on training data and any instructions given to the AI model.
He said that the fascination and virality attributed to this song is due in part to 'how good AI has become at creating content', including replicating famous individuals.
Roberto Nickson is developing an AI platform that will boost productivity and improve work flow. He recently shared a video to Twitter, showing how simple it is to record and train an AI to replace the vocals. He gave the example of Kanye West, a former artist.
He said, 'The results are going to blow your mind.' You'll be listening to songs from your favorite artists that are indistinguishable, and you won't know if they're them or not.
The impact of the law
The entertainment industry may have seen this coming, but regulations are still lagging behind AI's rapid development.
Audrey Benoualid is an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles. She said that 'Heart On My Sleeve,' which appears to be a 'original composition', does not violate copyright.
She said that Ghostwriter had also made it known that Drake and The Weeknd weren't involved in making the song. This could have protected them from a "passing off" claim where consumers were misled to believe the song was actually a Drake/Weeknd collaboration.
Benoualid said that machine learning and generative AI may also infringe on copyright for existing works. This could be done by creating copies of the works to train AI, or by producing outputs which are similar to these existing works. She said that major labels will undoubtedly and have already started to argue about the infringement of their copyrights, as well as their artists' intellectual properties rights.
Michael Nash is an executive vice president at Universal Music Group. He wrote recently in an op ed article that AI music 'dilutes the market, makes original creations more difficult to find, as well as violating the legal rights of artists to compensation for their work.
There are no regulations that limit what AI can or cannot train. The US Copyright Office has released new guidelines on how to register literary and artistic works created with AI.
The guidance explained that copyrights will be determined case by case, depending on the way the AI tool works and the method used to create the work. The US Copyright Office has announced that it will be asking for public input regarding how to apply the law to copied works on which AI is trained, and how they should treat these works.
Benoualid stated that 'AI, copyright laws and the rights for musicians and labels collided (again) and it will be some time before the dust settles'. The landscape is not clear right now.
Inouye stated that if AI-generated content is associated in a negative manner with celebrities, it could be grounds for litigation to not only remove the content but also to stop and desist operations and possibly seek damages.
He said that if the content was popular and the creator made money off the image or likeness of the artist, the artists would be able to request to have the content removed and sue the creator for any financial gains.
For now, it may be necessary to play whack a mole. Although services like Spotify removed 'Heart on my Sleeve', versions of the song appeared to be circulating on other online platforms as of Tuesday.