Posted on: May 8, 2023 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Graphic by James Landgraf

By Aidan McGuire, News Editor

Drake and The Weeknd haven’t collaborated on a song since “Live For” in 2017. They may not need to collaborate in the future because artificial intelligence is now able to write and produce music for them.

The song that started it all is titled “Heart on My Sleeve” and was published online by a user known as Ghostwriter. This anonymous individual uses AI technology to generate lyrics and deep fake voice generations designed to sound exactly like popular artists.

“I think AI music is exciting when used to hear what other artists would sound like singing someone’s song, but it’s scary waters,” said MV student Jalin Hooper.

I think Al-generated songs that mimic artists’ voices are stripping that musician of their creative identity

Matthew Worsech MV Music Student

“Heart on My Sleeve” features a computer-generated or deep-faked version of Drake and The Weeknd, bringing to reality the collab die-hard fans have been waiting for.

“I think music created by artificial intelligence is interesting,” said MV music student Matthew Worsech. “It allows us to see what works in music of past and present: popular chords, catchy melodies, mixing techniques, etc.”

But despite the excitement rising from this new technology, many music professionals are questioning how it may impact the industry. Moraine Valley voice instructor Anna Siwiec-Sitkowska voiced concern about AI music’s ability to dampen the creative process.

“I am not an expert on this genre of music, but I can tell it was created by a computer,” Siwiec-Sitkowska said. “Unfortunately, like with using auto-tune, general audiences are not trained to hear the difference between singers who use or don’t use an autotune.

Graphic by James Landgraf

“Technology is a great tool musicians can use, but I am afraid AI can negatively impact creativity and music education going forward,” she added. “We are in uncharted seas.”

Siwiec-Sitkowska explained how we are already seeing humans being replaced within the music world.

“We already have local community theaters replacing instrumental pit orchestras with tracks that the casts sing over,” she said. “This saves money, but doesn’t allow room for spontaneity.”

This brand-new avenue in the music industry is raising a number of concerns, including the topic of copyrighting an artist’s own likeness. For now, there few laws are in place protecting artists from having deep fakes made of them.

“I think Al-generated songs that mimic artists’ voices are stripping that musician of their creative identity,” Worsech said. “Because of that I definitely think there should be a copyright.

“However, this also feels like another slippery slope; how do we decide what’s parody and what’s legitimate?”

Since the original song was released and took the internet by storm, the same anonymous user has uploaded a number of other deep-faked songs, most of which are sung by a fake Drake and featuring several other popular artists’ voices, including Travis Scott, Lil BABY, and Kanye West. 

Many of the videos disappear after some time, getting flagged by platforms for copyright infringement, but Ghostwriter appears to be continuing to upload this content in spite of the removals.

As this technology continues to grow, some artists are speaking out about this new frontier of music. For instance, Canadian musician Grimes stated that she would welcome people using AI technology to replicate her voice and even split the profits of the song 50/50 with the creator.

“I think that it opens up new avenues for artists to experiment, but also brings up issues of identity theft and the loss of human art,” said MV freshman Will Witry.

Where this technology will take the music industry still remains to be seen, but Worsech believes human-created music feels more authentic and personal.

“I think the real beauty of music is that it’s a form of self-expression,” he said. “All of the best music is the best because it has a certain touch only the human condition can deliver.”

Heart On My Sleeve