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How will AI affect the music industry?

Music producers are still divided on how to use Artificial Intelligence in the industry.

Music producers are still divided on how to use Artificial Intelligence in the industry.

With rapid developments in AI and the implementation of the technology unilaterally across business sectors, there is heated debate in the Hollywood music scene over whether AI should be used in music production — and to what extent.

The debate intensified last week when a TikTok user by the handle ghostwriter977 posted a two-minute video that sounded a lot like Drake and The Weeknd.

The clip went viral, with more than 15 million views on TikTok and upwards of 600,000 streams on various streaming platforms.

The Universal Music Group, the body representing A-List celebs including Drake and The Weeknd, released a universal request to platforms to remove the video — because it wasn’t actually Drake and The Weeknd, it was an AI-generated soundalike.

The song was played on YouTube, Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify, and Tidal, along with TikTok, where it was posted originally.

The song, called ‘Heart On My Sleeve’ so closely resembles something that the two artists would produce themselves, that it starkly highlighted a much larger issue in the music industry.

What is the place of Artificial Intelligence in the creative processes that encompass music-making?

Some artists embrace the technology, noting the creative and time-saving benefits of AI, as per start-up publication dot.la, while others, generally Hollywood’s veterans, assert it has no place in the music industry.

Add to the mix independent producers that use AI software to generate music that passes as professional quality, such as the viral clip of the AI version of Drake and The Weeknd. Another example is a viral TikTok video where AI makes Kanye West sound like Adele.

Does AI help the creative process?

A front-running argument for using AI in music production is that it “furthers the creative process”.

“I use it as inspiration to draw the structure to what I’m emulating or what I’m creating, and then create the final product,” said Alec Strasmore, head of talent at Icon Management Agency and former manager of Post Malone.

While highlighting the complications of AI, such as having unclear laws and lacking a personal touch, Strasmore said the solution is “you can just generate it, and add your human touch to it at the finish line.”

“If it comes from the artist, in the sense of ‘hey, I think that’s wrong, take it down,’ it should be done,” Strasmore continued. “If it’s this empire-like approach to being the sole owner of all your favorite artists’ sound and everything, and them coming after these individuals, I feel like is tyrannical and aggressive [and] I think that the artists should speak out about it before the labels come aggressively chasing these consumers and fans and, and creators.”