Digital Culture
Artificial Intelligence

This fake song from Drake and The Weeknd is AI-generated and scary good

'Heart on My Sleeve' is very good and very fake.
By Tim Marcin  on 
rapper drake holding his head on stage
Fake Drake (not this guy) put out a new song. Credit: Rick Kern / WireImage / Getty Images

There's a new hit via Drake and The Weeknd that's taking over the internet — well, kind of. An AI-generated track called "Heart On My Sleeve" mimics the two hitmakers so well that it's gone viral. And that, naturally, has caused some controversy. (If you'd like to hear it, click here.(opens in a new tab))

The song really does sound like an offering from Drake and The Weeknd. It even has some interesting subtext. The faux song twice mentions Selena Gomez, who reportedly used to date The Weeknd. A fake Drake lyric about Gomez even name-checks her other ex, Justin Bieber.

Raps the AI Drake: "I came in with my ex like Selena to flex, ay / Bumpin' Justin Bieber the fever ain't left, ay."

The song was created by an anonymous creator name Ghostwriter, and it began picking up steam on streaming services earlier this week before being taken down. Still, the song is floating around(opens in a new tab) YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and elsewhere. Universal Music Group criticized the fake song in a statement given to Billboard(opens in a new tab).

"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," a UMG spokesman told Billboard. "We're encouraged by the engagement of our platform partners on these issues – as they recognize they need to be part of the solution."

It's no surprise that the track has been getting pulled from streaming services and various other platforms including YouTube due to copyright violations.

Yet, the scariest part of this story is that the song from AI Drake and AI The Weeknd is honestly...not bad. It sounds like a legit hit from the duo. There is really no way to know for certain that it isn't the real Drake or Weeknd on the song just by listening, and that could have some unsettling implications.

Now, to be clear, we know very little about the creation of this song and what went into it. We don't know what kind of AI, if any, was actually used in the process. We just know what the track sounded like and that it wasn't actually from the two artists. Of course, voice synthesis has come a long way, so it's not hard to believe the song is truly AI-created. Viral TikToks, for instance, regularly feature faux versions of celebs — chiefly President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump — arguing with one another about inane topics.

So, where does the music industry go from here? Will it resist generative AI, or will it become a lucrative tool for artists and labels?

Mashable Image
Tim Marcin

Tim Marcin is a culture reporter at Mashable, where he writes about food, fitness, weird stuff on the internet, and, well, just about anything else. You can find him posting endlessly about Buffalo wings on Twitter at @timmarcin(opens in a new tab).

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