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Innovation

An AI-generated song featuring The Weeknd and Drake went viral. Now music labels are scrambling

The song sounds like a genuine collaboration -- and a good one at that.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor on
Drake and The Weeknd performing on stage
Ollie Millington/Contributor/Getty Images

If you heard the new Drake and The Weeknd song last weekend on social media, you may be surprised to hear the whole song, including vocals, was generated by AI

The song, called Heart On My Sleeve, was created by TikTok user Ghostwriter977 using AI and previous soundbites of the artists' voices. 

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Heart on My Sleeve has accumulated over 8 million views on Ghostwriter977's TikTok account alone, with reposts on other sites also accumulating millions of views. For example, the Twitter post below that plays the song has 18.9 million views. 

The duet features Drake's and The Weeknd's AI-generated vocals on a trap beat. The song sounds like a genuine collaboration the artists put out -- and a good one at that. 

The song was so popular that it was shared on music streaming platforms, such as Spotify and Apple Music, where it got hundreds of thousands of streams.

However, on Monday, the song got taken down from all music streaming platforms, including YouTube, because of copyright infringement claims. 

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The complaints are thought to come from Universal Music Group (UMG), the music company The Weeknd is signed to. Just last week, the music label told streaming platforms to block AI-generated music that comes from their copyrighted songs, according to emails viewed by the Financial Times

If you haven't had a chance to listen, no worries. Fans are so passionate about the song that they have taken it upon themselves to download and repost the song on TikTok, YouTube, and other platforms. 

For example, a user who reposted the song to YouTube -- where it has garnered 12,000 views in 12 hours -- said in the description, "I don't own any rights to this. I'm just reuploading this song Ghostwriter977 made because it's straight πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯".

Ghostwriter977 doesn't seem intimidated either, having TikTok videos of the song still on their account and a link in their bio where fans can sign up to get the song sent to them if the song gets banned. 

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Under one of their videos, Ghostwriter977 commented, "I was a ghostwriter for years and got paid close to nothing just for major labels to profit. The future is here."

The debate on whether AI-generated music should be allowed will be interesting to follow. Some people, like Ghostwriter977, say it could democratize music, while others, like music labels, have a lot to lose if it takes off. 

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