June 16, 2024

UMG Addresses Viral Drake & The Weeknd A.I. Song


Universal Music Group has responded to the viral A.I.-generated song by Drake and The Weeknd that has been blowing up on social media. The company labeled the use of their artists’ vocals for A.I. music “fraud” and called on streaming platforms to ban the technology. The A.I. song is titled “heart on my sleeve” and has reached over 230,000 plays on YouTube and more than 630,000 streams on Spotify.

In its statement released this week, UMG explained that it has made a living by embracing new technology, but this is a step too far. “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,” the statement begins.

Drake & The Weeknd

NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM – MARCH 16: Drake and The Weeknd perform onstage during a date of Drakes “Nothing Was the Same” 2014 World Tour at Nottingham Capital FM Arena on March 16, 2014 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/WireImage)

The company continues: “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.”

In response to the backlash, several platforms, including Apple Music, Deezer, and TIDAL, have already pulled “heart on my sleeve.” Drake has also commented on the use of his likeness for A.I., writing on Instagram, “This is the final straw AI.” No regulations currently exist to dictate what AI can legally train. The US Copyright Office has, however, released a statement of guidance on the matter. As noted by CNN, they wrote: “In the case of works containing AI-generated material, the Office will consider whether the AI contributions are the result of ‘mechanical reproduction’ or instead of an author’s ‘own original mental conception, to which [the author] gave visible form.’”


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