AI-Generated Song “Heart on My Sleeve” Goes Viral, Causes Ethical Dilemma
With the rise of artificial intelligence, there’s one question weighing on all our minds: Just how intelligent is it?
AI is already making its mark on the music industry with AI-generated songs — and ones that go viral at that.
The new song “Heart on My Sleeve” sounded like Drake and The Weeknd were singing, and it sounded like a Metro Boomin signature. But it wasn’t. It was all created using AI, courtesy of Ghostwriter977, who posted it anonymously on TikTok on April 15. The seven different videos featuring the song earned more than 11 million views combined, reaching a wide audience across the platform. On Spotify, it was streamed more than 600,000 times, too.
People love Drake, and they love The Weeknd. So it’s no surprise that the fan community jumped at the opportunity to listen to the song — even if it wasn’t the real deal. The deep fake is hard to distinguish from what you might expect from a collaboration between the two artists.
I got my heart on my sleeve
With a knife in my back
What’s with that?
~ “Heart on My Sleeve”
Some of the song’s promotional videos feature lyrics overlaid over a figure wearing a sheet, dressed as a ghost with sunglasses. “This is fire,” the top reads.
Universal Music Group, for Drake and The Weeknd, had the song pulled from streaming services Apple and Spotify. UMG claimed it was a copyright violation as its rationale for the removal because the AI was trained using material from the two artists in question. This is both breaching UMG agreements and violating copyright law, UMG said. The song is in the process of being removed from YouTube and TikTok. However, certain pieces and versions of “Heart on My Sleeve” are circulating around the internet, including Twitter. It’s hard to erase a clip from the internet entirely.
There’s ongoing discourse about if AI-generated materials are capable of being protected by copyright. What the courts decide about the intersection between AI and copyright law will be hugely impactful for the entertainment industry, especially as the number of AI-generated songs posted online increases with the more accessible and improving AI technology.
If artificial intelligence is on the rise for making what sound like potential chart-toppers, actual artists might be facing some intense competition. AI have the potential to help churn out new songs that check almost every single box on what makes a good song good. However, the artists that fans have come to know and love have the advantage of being able to share their authentic (and human) experiences. So it seems like nothing can compare to a real human’s artistic, creative expression of their own feelings with their own lyrics and their own sound.