By Daniel Guido
AI continues to amaze the internet and the world with its capacity for extraordinary feats. It has now proven itself capable of creating music on par with that of accomplished singers and songwriters. The impacts this will have on the music industry will prove to be of great importance in the near future.
Over the past few months, AI programs have been used to replicate the voices of real human beings, especially famous celebrities. We have seen this on platforms such as TikTok and YouTube, in which content creators have posted videos of AI replicating the voices of Presidents and other famous figures, making entertaining videos of these voices interacting with each other and playing video games. These videos garner immense popularity on their respective platforms and as such, this popularity fueled what has now become the influx of AI-created songs and music.
These AI songs have gained popularity by replicating the voices of real people and using them to create songs. This currently exists in two different forms: the first involves AI using the voice of a celebrity to sing a popular song not originally sung by said celebrity. An example of this is an AI cover of Kanye West singing “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay. This type of AI voiceover provides a frighteningly accurate replication of the real-life individual’s voice in musical form. In many cases, people can not initially tell that an AI created this, which shows just how real these “voices” can sound. The second type of AI voice-over involves the use of a celebrity’s voice to create an entirely new song from scratch with its own lyrics and musical beat, the exemplar of this being “Heart on My Sleeve” created by TikTok user “ghostwriter977,” which uses AI replicated voices of Drake and The Weeknd with a Metro Boomin label at the start of the song. It uses these voices in a way which makes it sound as if it were really created by these artists. This has since opened up the possibility for collaborations to be created of different singers who never would have made a song together, such as Michael Jackson and other artists who have passed away. These examples are probably just the start in a wave of AI created music.
This opens up many legal and ethical questions when it comes to the use of real people’s voices in the creation of AI music. So far the song “Heart on My Sleeve” has been taken down on Spotify and YouTube as people question whether or not this should be considered copyright infringement. There also exists the ethical debate over who deserves credit and ownership over these songs. Should the person who input the command for the AI to create the song receive the credit, or should the programming company who created the AI be credited? This is not to mention the person whose voice is being used in the first place. But does the celebrity deserve credit for a song in which they took no part in its creation? Should the use of AI to create voice-replicated music even be allowed? This whole situation has raised many new questions, all without clear answers.
It will certainly be interesting to see the legal decisions brought about over this debate. We could very well see courts attempt to outlaw this form of music creation, which may be the first step in a long list of regulations that will inevitably be imposed on the use of Artificial Intelligence. We already see the attempted suppression of word-generator programs such as ChatGPT, and this form of music generation will inevitably meet the same fate. However, it will still be interesting to listen to people’s defense of this form of music and the ethical debates that they bring up over this topic.
The power AI has on internet content continues to expand with AI generated pictures, art, voice replications, word generators, and now music creation. These are only the capabilities that are popularly known, with AI doing immense amounts of other work in other backgrounds as well. It is now only a matter of time before the next new and interesting AI accomplishment will gain similar wide-spread popularity and controversy.