Google to Create Deepfake Tool to Mimic Music Artists

universal studios

Google might launch a tool that allows users to create songs in particular artists’ voice. Artists can opt in and receive profits.

Google is reportedly talking with Universal Music Group to create a tool that allows users to create music using the voices or lyrics of leading music artists. This tool will use AI to generate music; the deal has not yet been negotiated. Financial Times reported it a few days ago (Link—Paywalled).

This tool will not allow users to do so freely, however. The plan is to pay the music artists and the copyright holders for giving the rights to allow the reproduction of their talents. Artists will also have the option to opt in (which signals that everyone will be opted out by default when the service launches, which is always a better way to go about it than opting everyone in).

UMG represents artists like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, The Beatles, Drake, Eminem, Coldplay, Post Malone, and Kendrick Lamar and owns labels like Abbey Road Studios, Island Records, Republic Records, Virgin Music, etc. Notably, UMG has already developed a service called Vevo with Google in the past.

It’s also come to light that Google has been in talks with the Warner Music Group for a similar service.

Artists under the UMG such as Drake and Sting have voiced strict anti-AI opinions recently. On the contrary, many musical artists have supported AI. For example, Grimes said anyone could create songs using her voice without penalty as long as she received a 50% split on the royalties generated from the music. A new Beatles song is also about to be released, which, Paul McCartney said, uses AI to extricate John Lennon’s voice from old tapes to create “the final Beatles record.”

Though it might be a completely different argument when reproducing artists who are no longer with us or even those who are not at the peak of their careers, it will be interesting to see how currently successful pop music artists take the advancements in AI-based voice reproduction. Will the majority side with Google’s new tool for a new income channel or will they keep their voice and lyrics as protected IP?

Featured image by Michael Buckner for Variety.

By Abhimanyu

Unwrapping the fast-evolving AI popular culture.