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Drake and The Weeknd AI song removed from Apple and Spotify

A song that employs artificial intelligence to replicate Drake and The Weeknd’s voices is being removed from streaming services.

No longer available on Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, and Tidal is Heart On My Sleeve.

It is also being removed from TikTok and YouTube, though some versions remain accessible.

It follows harsh criticism from Universal Music Group, who claimed the song violated copyright laws.

The music publisher said platforms had a “legal and ethical responsibility” to protect artists.

Drake and The Weeknd AI song removed from Apple and Spotify

The track simulates Drake and The Weeknd exchanging verses about Selena Gomez, a pop star and actress who dated The Weeknd previously.

@ghostwriter claims that software trained on the musicians’ voices created the composition.

The track went viral over the weekend after being posted on multiple platforms on Friday.

Also on Monday afternoon, Apple, Deezer, and Tidal pulled it, followed by TikTok, Spotify, and YouTube.

The YouTube link to the original version of the song now reads: “This video is no longer accessible due to a copyright claim by Universal Music Group.”

It was streamed 629,439 times on Spotify before being removed. At Spotify’s lowest royalty rate of $0.003 per broadcast, this equates to approximately $1,888 (£1,500) in earnings.

Republic Records, owned by Universal Music Group, publishes both artists.

But it added: “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 [digital service providers] begs the question as to which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem wish to be on: the side of artists, fans, and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud, and denying a human right.

“These instances illustrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical obligation to prohibit the use of their services in a manner that harms artists. Our platform partners recognise they must help solve these difficulties, which encourages us.”

‘A double-edged sword’

A counsel for intellectual property (IP) stated that the law surrounding copyright and artificial intelligence was complex.

Jani Ihalainen of RPC stated that UK copyright law grants performers certain rights over their performances. Such as the right to make reproductions of recordings of particular performances.

“However, a ‘deep faked’ voice that doesn’t reproduce a performance may not be covered and may be a protected work.”

He added, “Current legislation is nowhere near adequate to address deep fakes and the potential issues in terms of IP and other rights.”

Tony Rigg, University of Central Lancashire music industry management lecturer and consultant, said it would take time.

“Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this case is the undermining of moral rights,” he stated. “Imitation of you, your identity, your sound, and your style could be extremely problematic. The legal system will provide a remedy”.

So the use of artificial intelligence in the music industry is a double-edged sword, with tensions deriving from its potential to devalue human creativity and its potential to enhance it.

AI’s potential impact on music creation, consumption, and commerce is enormous and evolutionary. But it’s hard to envisage in a transformational future.

Neither artist has yet responded to the recording, but Drake recently voiced his displeasure over the cloning of his voice.

“This is the final straw, AI,” he wrote on Instagram after discovering a fan-made video of him rhyming the Ice Spice song Munch (Feeling U).


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