Universal Music Group has recently responded to the viral news of AI-generated vocal tracks that feature the voices of popular artists like Drake and The Weeknd. The popularity of these songs has spread across social media and music streaming platforms, leading UMG to voice concerns about the potential implications of AI for the music marketing industry.

The track “Heart On My Sleeve,” credited to Ghostwriter, has gained over hundreds of thousands of plays on YouTube and almost a million streams on Spotify. The track features AI-replicated vocals of Drake and The Weeknd. Although some music streaming services such as Apple Music, Deezer, and TIDAL have pulled down the track, it remains on other platforms like YouTube, SoundCloud, and Spotify.

Drake and The Weeknd release their records via UMG and its Republic Records, which makes the situation more complex. Universal has embraced AI technology, as they have been innovating around it for some time already. However, the label company has stated that the training of generative AI using their artists’ music represents a breach of their agreements and a violation of copyright law. 

They argue that the availability of infringing content created with generative AI on DSPs (digital service providers) raises the question of 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.

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