AI Music: an Unoriginal Illusion


Scrolling through TikTok, suddenly a familiar voice begins to recite the lyrics- you click on the soundtrack out of excitement, only to find that this music isn’t real. 

It’s voiced by AI.

Recently, an AI generated track imitating Drake and The Weeknd’s voices, “Heart on my Sleeve,” was released on online streaming platforms and promoted via social media by a user named “Ghostwriter.” Many were surprised by the exact precision of the AI’s replication of the two singers’ voices and styles; some even initially believed that Drake had released the song. 

The TikTok video through which “Heart on my Sleeve” was released, featured popular comments such as, “This Better [than Drake’s] last 3 albums i said what i said!!!! 💿,” “Ai makin hits 😭,” and “Drake features are now 50$😂,” revealing that there was a generally positive reaction to AI generated music. In fact, one user reported, “Drake next album: Me, Myself, AI,” conveying that anyone could now “make” Drake’s music.  

However, some users stated that there were giveaways to the illusion: lyrical repetition and disingenuity. Phrases like “gon’ slap” and the term “world” repeat five times in two verses, contradicting the established songwriting abilities of both artists. Furthermore, this song isn’t fully AI generated. The song features Drake and The Weeknds’ voices, but Ghostwriter, the TikTok user that initially posted the track, wrote the lyrics, recorded a beat, and produced the song to prepare for the vocals. The fact that a random person other than the two artists wrote lyrics about the artists’ lives and relationships with others, renders the song ingenuine, and feels even more like a guilty fraud for its audience.

Consequently, music labels, including UMG (Universal Music Group), had a similar reaction but escalated legally by disconnecting the generated song from the public. Because AI music generators train, or gather their data from copyrighted tracks released by original artists, labels believe that this infringes on their own artists’ rights. UMG is responsible for both Drake and The Weeknd, and requested “Heart on my Sleeve” to be removed on music platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and TikTok. 

With various free AI music generators on the internet, more people can easily produce and release their own music. However, if important labels continue to ban AI music, this will discourage and reduce AI generative producers by impeding their access to music platforms, and thus their main stream of revenue. This ban not only sets precedent for the AI music industry, but also directs profit towards the original artists.