We’ve always predicted what the future would look like. From flying cars to self-tying sneakers, (ya know, like the ones Marty wears in Back to the Future Part II) or the notorious prediction of robots taking over, we want to know what the future holds for us – and we’re starting to get a better idea of it.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for much longer than we think. While the first AI program was successfully created in 1955 to prove mathematical theorems, the non-human-based intelligence has come a long way to prove its abilities, and it continues to do so. We’ve seen AI being used in science, education, entertainment, and customer service. More recently, it’s making its way into one of our most beloved art forms – music.
It’s pretty likely that while mindlessly scrolling on social media, you’ve come across a catchy tune that you wanted to add to your playlist only to realize…it’s not a real song. Instead, an artificially intelligent bot-form program created a song and paired it with the voice of a famous singer. And it’s alarming just how convincingly real they sound.
To us, this can be a little thrilling. We love it when our favorite musicians cover other artists’ famous songs, and AI allows for this to happen. AI cover songs use their ability to take a musician’s voice without their input, and pair it with another hit song. TikTok user, Adam Barrera, explains how fans of pop icon Ariana Grande are combining her voice with already released songs (since we’re all craving a new album), as well as other mind-blowing examples.
@adamtheflop This is SCARY #arianagrande #sza #billieeilish #lanadelrey #ladygaga #music #ai #adamtheflop ♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose
Lately in the music industry, a new example of AI’s mind-boggling abilities went viral. A TikTok user, who goes by ghostwriter977, created a song through AI called “heart on my sleeve” that features the vocals of Drake and The Weeknd. The 1-minute snippet, which has now been taken down, was written by ghostwriter and then replaced the vocals through an AI program, and the product sounded insanely real.
Another artificial intelligence program recently combined the vocals of Rihanna for a cover of Beyonce’s hit, “Cuff It”. A Twitter account by the name of “Rihanna Facts” posted a 51-second snippet of the AI cover, which has gained over 6 million views. While some comments praise the cover, others are a little bit more creeped out.
IA Rihanna from ChatGPT singing Beyoncé’s “Cuff It” pic.twitter.com/1TAmHEDAKv
— Rihanna Facts (@Nevernyny) April 13, 2023
AI music has been extremely popular on TikTok, with certain accounts being made solely to post AI covers of famous artists. This AI cover of Dua Lipa singing Rihanna’s hit single, “Diamonds,” is only one of the hundreds of AI songs posted on a TikTok account.
@dimitbarbosa Diamonds by Dua Lipa AI #dualipa #fyp ♬ Diamonds – Diamonds
For musicians, the rise of AI technology is starting to become concerning, as well as for music labels and streaming services who are raising their eyebrows at these non-human machines. Earlier this month, Universal Music sent an email, with an ominous warning, to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. They ask for these services to prevent AI companies from accessing copyrighted songs considering that AI companies “train” their machines with copyrighted music without the required consent. The email also acknowledges that the right steps need to be taken in order to protect “our rights and those of our artists.”
The legalities of AI created music remains unresolved, but it could be answered soon. Getty Images has filed a class action over AI companies using their copyrighted material for their machines. A group of visual artists also filed a similar case after AI platforms used their copyrighted material. The concerns for AI music could become a legal topic in no time.
While we would love to hear a variety of artists covering our favorite songs, artificially created music doesn’t have a soul behind it, and musicians do. It’s scary (yet impressive) how much technology has advanced. AI “art”, however, will never compare to the real, human-based emotions expressed through an artist’s work.