Alleged Drake song generated by AI
A song allegedly written by Drake and featuring The Weeknd has surfaced on TikTok. However, the two musicians were not involved in the song. Instead, an AI has generated it, which should pose significant problems for the music industry.
AI-generated song on TikTok
Since the middle of the month, a roughly one-minute song has been circulating on the short video platform TikTok, apparently featuring Drake and The Weeknd. The problem: Both musicians never sang the song. The recording was distributed via the account ghostwriter977, which claims that the song was created using artificial intelligence. This is not absurd. Already in the past, with the help of appropriate tools, songs have been created that strongly resemble the works of well-known musicians in structure, lyrics and voice.
Problems for the music industry
All of this points to fundamental problems for the field of art that artificial intelligence brings. Machine imitation of musical, pictorial, or literary characteristics of individuals goes far beyond manual imitation in its capabilities and relies on processing large amounts of original material. As a result, AI could outpace actual creators of art: Based on the material they create, it can create new works that closely resemble previous ones in a matter of seconds at the push of a button. By definition, this is not itself art due to the lack of reflection in the creation process; however, fans could largely care less, which could drive actual art creators out of the market.
In addition to these more economic problems, there are also deeper ones, such as those of determining authorship. In addition to the AI program, the person who thinks up the prompt, the instruction to the AI, as well as Drake, whose material must have been analyzed by the AI beforehand, are involved in the creation of an AI-Drake song. AI imitation differs from manual imitation by other humans in that it does not initiate its own thought and reflection process, but statistically derives a sequence of sounds and words from the Drake material. Here, the question arises whether this – similar to human imitation – represents an own performance or not. Furthermore it must be asked whether the significance of the original material of Drake is to be estimated in this case higher than with human imitation of exactly this material.
If the answer is positive, this does not lead to a solution, but only to further problems. For example, the question arises to what extent Drake has to be indicated as co-author – and to what extent he has the right to intervene in this position. If, on the other hand, the question is answered in the negative, fundamental questions about the right to one’s own voice, for example, are touched upon – or about the extent to which direct commercial processing of original Drake songs is thereby permitted.
The music industry already has these issues in mind. Universal Music Group, for example, is pushing streaming platforms to delete AI songs that mimic its artists.
PR action by an advertising company?
Behind the specific case of the AI song imitating Drake and The Weeknd is, to all appearances, an advertising company that wants to draw attention to itself in this way. In the profile of the TikTok account ghostwriter977 there is a link to the company Laylo, which offers advertising for music creators in social networks. The company commented on a Twitter post pointing to the link quite clearly with a ghost emoji – a ghost can also be found as ghostwriter977’s profile picture.
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