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Heart On My Sleevethe song by Drake and The Weeknd made with artificial intelligence, has been pulled from almost all streaming platforms.
The track uses AI to clone the voices of the two American singers, which is why the publisher, Universal Music Group, has called for its immediate removal from streaming services.
Universal says the song violates copyright law and adds that platforms have a “legal and ethical responsibility” to prevent the use of services that could harm artists in any way.
Following the publisher’s stinging criticism, Heart On My Sleeve is now disappearing from almost all music platforms. It is no longer available on Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and Tidal, and it also appears to be in the process of being retired from TikTok and YouTube as well. However some versions may remain available on the net.
The song simulates the singers quoting Selena Gomez
The offending track simulates Drake and The Weeknd as they exchange verses on behalf of pop star and actress Selena Gomez, who once dated The Weeknd. The creator of Heart On My Sleeve (known as @ghostwriter) says the song was created by special software, “trained” to artfully recreate the musicians’ voices. Instead of saying the proverbial “he would even fool Drake and The Weeknd’s mother”, this time it must be said that he would fool Drake and The Weeknd themselves. Incredible how convincing this fake is…
The fake song went viral
Obviously the fake song by Drake and The Weeknd generated by artificial intelligence has gone viral. After being released on various streaming platforms on Friday 14th April, the song was circulated during the weekend of 15th and 16th April.
It was initially removed by Apple, Deezer and Tidal on Monday afternoon (April 17), after which TikTok, Spotify and YouTube were invited to follow the virtuous example of Apple & Co.
A link to an original version of the song on YouTube now reads, “This video is no longer available due to a copyright infringement claim by Universal Music Group.”
It should be noted that it was streamed 629,439 times on Spotify before being pulled. At Spotify’s lowest royalty rate of $0.003 per stream, the song earned about $1,888.
Universal Music Group statement
Universal Music Group – which releases both artists through Republic Records – said it has been building its innovation around artificial intelligence for some time, so she specifies she’s not against the technology. But he adds bluntly: “The training of Generative AI using the music of our artists (which is both a violation of our agreements and a violation of copyright law), as well as the availability of infringing content created with Generative AI on DSPs [fornitori di servizi digitali], begs the question of which side of the story all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: on the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due fee. These cases demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists. We are encouraged by our platform partners’ engagement on these issues, as they recognize they need to be part of the solution.”
“Copyright law and artificial intelligence is not simple”
A lawyer specializing in intellectual property cases told the BBC that copyright law and artificial intelligence are far from straightforward.
Jani Ihalainen, from PRC, said UK copyright law gives artists certain rights over their performances, including making copies of recordings of specific performances.
“However, a deepfaked entry, which does not specifically copy a performance, will most likely not be covered and could even be considered a protected work in its own right. (…) Current legislation is nowhere near adequate to deal with deepfakes and the potential problems in terms of intellectual property and other rights”, adds the lawyer Ihalainen speaking to the microphones of the BBC.
“It will take time to resolve these issues”
Tony Rigg, lecturer in music industry management at the University of Central Lancashire, was also interviewed by the BBC, explaining that these issues will take time to resolve.
“Perhaps the most concerning aspect of this case is the undermining of moral rights,” Rigg said. “If someone can imitate you, your brand, your sound and your style, it could be very problematic. It will be up to the law to provide a remedy. (…) The use of artificial intelligence in the music industry is a weapon against double-edged, with tensions arising from its potential to undermine the value of human creativity, juxtaposed with its potential to augment it.While the possibilities are enormous and evolutionary, it is hard to imagine the full extent of artificial intelligence’s potential to impact human creation, consumption and the business of music in what promises to be a transformative era”.
Drake and The Weeknd have yet to make any statements
Neither artist involved has yet responded to the song, however Drake recently expressed disappointment at his voice being cloned.
“This is the last straw of the AI,” he said on Instagram, after stumbling upon a fan-made video of him appearing to be rapping the track Munch (Feelin’ U) by American rapper Ice Spice.