The emergence of Artificial Intelligence tools in the music landscape has triggered a wave of unease, especially within the vibrant realm of Afrobeats- and unless you’ve been living under a rock (which is highly unlikely, as a pigeon didn’t bring you this article), you must have noticed the buzz surrounding Chapgbt, Bard AI, and the impact of other artificial intelligence tools on music.
Recently, a song called “Heart on My Sleeve” featuring AI-generated vocal clones of Drake and the Weeknd gained immense popularity, racking up millions of streams before being taken down and causing confusion among labels and users.
In case you missed out on that story, here’s the short version: an AI-generated Drake voice rapped over an Ice Spice track, leading to Drake’s frustration, as he commented, “This is the final straw AI” on Instagram. Subsequently, a mysterious TikTok user, @ghostwriter977, went viral with an AI-generated Drake song featuring The Weeknd.
Despite the unmistakable voices, Ghostwriter’s identity remained unknown. However, “Heart on My Sleeve” suddenly disappeared from streaming platforms, raising speculation. Universal Music Group didn’t clarify the takedowns, and Ghostwriter deleted TikTok videos, leaving the song as the exception.
Ghostwriter encouraged fans to share their phone numbers to receive the Drake AI song, hinting at potential takedown concerns. The company running the page denied involvement but had connections to crypto and mass texting.
Although the original YouTube link was removed due to a copyright claim from Universal Music Group, copies of the song persisted, with Ghostwriter uploading another version.
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The rise of AI in the music industry has sparked concern, particularly for Afrobeats – a music genre described by Al Jazeera as “one of Africa’s biggest cultural exports.”-the genre’s extraordinary growth and rise cannot be overlooked.
Just two weeks after the Grammy Awards introduced a dedicated African music category, the collective streams of Afrobeats songs on Spotify reached a staggering 13 billion. Its infectious rhythms and soulful melodies continue to captivate audiences worldwide, solidifying Afrobeats’ position as a global musical sensation.
Afrobeats proudly stands tall as a genre that effortlessly blends elements of rap, dancehall, house, R&B, and pop, originating from the vibrant musical landscapes of Nigeria and Ghana. What was once an unknown genre has come a long way, with the Grammy creating a new category known as Best African Music Performance.
Today, Afrobeat artists such as Wizkid, Tems, Davido, Burnaboy, and more fill packed stadiums, accumulating awards, accolades, and impressive streaming numbers – a testament to the genre’s worldwide popularity.
Recently, it was announced that Reggae/Dancehall rising star Ramone released the first Afrobeats song to be coupled with an AI video, featuring a Zambian artiste. This development has raised the question of whether AI is taking over the world of Afrobeats, just as it has impacted other music genres globally.
There is a profound apprehension regarding the potential violation of intellectual property when using artificial intelligence tools in creative endeavors like making Afrobeats music. Unlike mere sampling, this cutting-edge technology possesses the ability to emulate and reproduce individuals’ distinctive voices and artistic styles.
As the boundaries of AI-generated content continue to expand, it becomes increasingly essential for there to be an address to the ethical implications of this innovation. Safeguarding the originality and creative rights of individuals is paramount to fostering a fair and respectful environment in the realm of AI-driven creations.
Considering these concerns, it is imperative for developers, artists, and policymakers to collaboratively explore measures that uphold the principles of intellectual property while embracing the remarkable potential AI offers for creative expression.
By implementing responsible practices and comprehensive guidelines, there would be a harmonious balance between innovation and safeguarding the unique contributions of artists and creators.
On a positive note, AI’s potential lies in providing accessible avenues for collaboration, allowing artists from different backgrounds to unite their talents and create music that transcends borders and genres.