AI Music: The Future of Music or a Threat to Musicians?

Quilt.AI
Quilt.AI
Published in
4 min readMay 30, 2023

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Brand Insights in 3 Sentences: The emergence of AI music generators and the viral success of songs like “heart on my sleeve” showcases the future of AI music and its impact on the music industry. While there are significant ethical and legal challenges to address, the possibilities of creating new genres and pushing the boundaries of music is limitless. The music industry and other related companies need to become versed in the technology and embrace its potential, but also to prioritize the ethical considerations of using AI to create music.

This sounds like a new song by Drake and The Weeknd, but what if we told you that neither of these musicians might have been involved with its creation and that it’s in fact, AI-generated.

“Heart on my sleeve” is a song written and produced by TikTok creator ghostwriter977. Its vocals were made to sound like Drake and The Weeknd, likely with the help of AI, and blew up on platforms like TikTok, Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube overnight. The song went viral before being wiped off the platforms as quickly as they appeared, due to copyright claims made by the artists’ record label, Universal Music Group.

By the time it was removed, it’s reported that the song “had racked up 600,000 Spotify streams, 15M TikTok views and 275,000 YouTube views.” There are plenty of conspiracy theories surrounding the song, with some alleging that it was a publicity stunt by Drake, and others questioning whether it was even AI at all or just someone autotuned to sound a lot like Drake. Whatever the case, it’s a huge turning point in the industry and throws open the ethical and social issues AI-content will have on music.

Today, there are dozens of AI music generators available online. Artificial intelligence can be implemented in many different ways and steps during the music-making process, from songwriting through simple prompts to automated mastering and creating synthetic voices. Many of them are also open-source, which means that it’s available to anyone and helps improve on existing technologies.

Search interest in AI music generators have increased by 886% over the past two years, with Boomy, Aiva and Soundraw being some of the most popular. These generators have given millions of amateur musicians without resources the tools to improve their creative processes and manifest their ideas. They also blur the lines between having an idea and actualizing it, which levels the creative playing field for any music participant, thus making way for endless possibilities for music as we know it.

One of the biggest fears that people have of AI and machine learning, is that it could render musicians and songwriters obsolete, as insinuated by “heart on my sleeve”. But, we’re here to make the case that this is likely not the case.

Creative AI tools will instead be useful as a supplemental tool to improve and simplify current processes by eliminating tedious tasks and allowing music makers to focus on their craft. We argue instead that “heart on my sleeve” demonstrates how music can be created by AI, but it doesn’t possess the creativity or the human touch that is required to make sense of the song. There still needs to be a person to edit, reimagine it to make it sound better, and have it relatable to listeners.

The future of AI’s role in the music industry and its boundlessness should be an exciting prospect for all musicians. AI requires innovation, so the need for curiosity, knowledge on this technology, sound and music creation will all be sought after. One artist that has embraced these new AI technology is Grimes, who’s invited creators’ to use AI-generated versions of her vocals to make new music. In a tweet, she stated that she would split 50% royalties on any successful AI-generated song that uses my voice. Same deal as I would with any artist i collab with.”

On Twitter, Grimes said that she was looking forward to being a “guinea pig” for AI-technology. When asked how she would react to graphic, racist or violent content however, the singer responded that she “may do copyright takedowns ONLY for rly rly toxic lyrics.”

The question of whether she has the legal right to get songs using her voice taken down remains a gray area, which therein lies one of the biggest challenges of AI music. The legalities of AI-generated music is uncharted territory, and artificial intelligence may be developing faster than the law can keep up. Who owns a copyright to the music? Given that machines draw from existing content, is it actually considered original work? What does this mean for streaming platforms?

The legalities of AI music is uncharted territory, and artificial intelligence may be developing faster than the law can keep up. So, however substantial the advantages of AI music is, it’s imperative that those questions be addressed. Lawmakers must hold AI-users accountable and that individuals remain responsible in how and why they utilize the technology.

Write to anurag.banerjee@quilt.ai to learn about AI-powered market research and the latest trends.

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Quilt.AI
Quilt.AI

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