The new song by Drake and The Weeknd was released last week by an anonymous TiKToK user named "Ghostwriter977". The entire song called "Heart on My Sleeve", including vocals from Drake and The Weeknd was generated using AI and previous soundbites of the artist's voices.
Ghostwriter977 TikTok account alone has seen over 8 million views for Heart on My Sleeve, and reposts on other websites have seen millions more as well. AI-generated vocals from Drake and The Weeknd are used in the duet which has a trap beat. The song seems like a sincere, well-executed collaboration between the two artists.
The song was so well-liked that it was shared on streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify, where it received hundreds of thousands of streams.
However, on Monday, the song was taken down from all music streaming platforms, including YouTube, because of copyright infringement claims. The Weeknd's record label, "Universal Music Group" (UMG) is assumed to be behind the accusations.
According to the letters seen by the Financial Times, the music label only just last week requested that streaming services restrict Ai-generated music that is derived from their copyrighted tunes.
The song's supporters are so fervent, they have downloaded and reposted it on TikTok, YouTube, and other platforms. For instance, an individual who uploaded the song on YouTube and republished it there stated in the description, "I don't own any rights to this. I'm just reuploading this song Ghostwriter977 made because it is straight".
Ghostwriter977 does not seem intimidated either, having TikTok videos of the song still on their account and a link in their bio where fans can sign up to get the song sent to them if the song gets banned.
Under one of their videos, Ghostwriter977 commented, "I was a ghostwriter for years and got paid close to nothing just for major labels to profit. The future is here".
The debate surrounding the legality of AI-generated music will be interesting to follow. It might democratize music, according to some, like Ghostwriter977 but music labels stand to lose a lot if it gains traction.
The Artists' Response
The Weeknd has not yet said anything about the song, but Drake recently commented on ai-generated music that rips off his voice. When Drake noticed an AI model of himself singing "Munch '' by Ice Spice, he wrote to his Instagram Story, "This is the final straw AI ''. He might be joking, but if so, he would not be the first well-known artist to express concern about the increasing number of deep fake songs and the overreaching capabilities of artificial intelligence.
Drake's complaint came after Universal Music Group wrote to streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music, asking them to prevent artificial intelligence companies from accessing their libraries.