This latest song has created a new issue for UMG and other major labels, what if people are using AI to create original music but are mimicking the voices of some of our most popular signees? This led UMG, where both Drake and The Weeknd are signed, to release a statement on the recent uptick in deep fakes:

“UMG’s success has been, in part, due to embracing new technology and putting it to work for our artists–as we have been doing with our own innovation around AI for some time already.”

With that said, however, the training of generative AI using our artists’ music (which represents both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law) as well as the availability of infringing content created with generative AI on DSPs, begs the question as to which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation.”

“These instances demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists. We’re encouraged by the engagement of our platform partners on these issues–as they recognize they need to be part of the solution.”

Why is it a problem for labels and their artists?

The answer is simple. It’s stealing.

This “ghostwriter” is essentially taking the likeness of two artists and creating a song they had nothing to do with. It’s particularly an issue because it’s something that music fans are enjoying. Those streaming numbers speak for themselves and those 630,000 listens of “heart on my sleeve” on Spotify could’ve been aimed toward an actual song Drake or The Weeknd created.

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This opens an even bigger issue because more times than not, these examples of AI-generated songs on the internet are creating Black music without using the Black people that created it. It’s the same reason Capitol Records dropped FN Meka, an AI-controlled rapper that only existed in the metaverse. He was a caricature of a modern-day artist who displays all of the gross stereotypes of rappers and people in the Black community.

Non-Black people who are sitting at home behind a computer can do the same thing by creating a song that sounds like it was created by their favorite rapper, but not deal with the consequences of stealing their likeness.