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AI-Generated Pop Hits: A New Challenge for the Music Industry

Artificial intelligence (AI) has begun to generate songs that mimic the voices of popular artists, leading to pushback from the music industry. A recent example is an AI-generated track that sounds like a collaboration between Drake and The Weeknd, titled “Heart on My Sleeve.” The song, released on TikTok by an anonymous producer, quickly went viral, accumulating over 10 million views. However, it was later removed from TikTok, Spotify, and Apple Music, likely at the request of Universal Music Group (UMG), which works with both artists.

Concerns from Labels and Artists

AI-generated pop hits are a cause for concern among artists and the companies that own song rights. Unauthorized tracks featuring AI versions of Rihanna and Eminem have also surfaced recently, highlighting the growing issue. UMG has reportedly taken measures to limit the potential for unsanctioned AI creations, asking Spotify and Apple Music to prevent users from scraping content to train AI systems.

UMG argues that AI-generated music could constitute copyright infringement and is prepared to protect artists’ rights. While the company has not confirmed its role in removing “Heart on My Sleeve,” it is clear that the music industry is grappling with a new challenge in the age of AI.

A “Modern Napster Moment”

The rise of AI-generated music has been likened to a “modern Napster moment” by AI expert Roberto Nickson. While “Heart on My Sleeve” may have been removed from major platforms, AI continues to develop its capabilities, and music industry executives will need to address the issue. The emerging technology presents both challenges and opportunities for artists and labels as they navigate this new frontier in music production and distribution.