The dark side of AI-generated music: How TikTok’s obsession with fake Drake songs could harm the industry

By Marcia Veiga

Published May 3, 2023 at 11:48 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

Artificial intelligence has officially infiltrated our health care, education and daily lives. But with its recent stride in popular music, the question remains: How will the music industry be impacted by AI?

Four years ago, pop star Grimes boldly predicted on American theoretical physicist and philosopher Sean Carroll’s Mindscape podcast that once Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) goes live, human art will be doomed.

“They’re gonna be so much better at making art than us,” she expressed. Although those comments sparked a meltdown on social media, as AI had already upended many blue-collar jobs across several industries, as first claimed by TIME. There is no denying that the controversial singer had foreshadowed today’s climate.


so artificial intelligence is making viral hits now? 💀 #ai #artificialintelligence #blingbling

♬ original sound - ALTÉGO

From popular DJ David Guetta using the technology to add a vocal in the style of rapper Eminem to a recent song, to the TikTok famous twin DJs ALTÉGO using it to make an anthem in the style of Charli XCX, Ava Max and Crazy Frog—the world simply can’t get enough of AI, with some of us even coming dependent on it:

In fact, Grimes (who is highly recognised for shaking up the music industry) has publically invited fellow musicians to clone her voice using AI to create new songs. According to the BBC, she announced that she would split 50 per cent of royalties on any successful AI-generated song and tweeted to her over 1 million followers: “Feel free to use my voice without penalty.” However, not all musicians feel as enthusiastic about the changing industry.

Rapper Drake expressed great displeasure over an AI-generated cover of him rapping Ice Spice’s ‘Munch (Feelin’ U)’ and vocalised that this was “the final straw.” Shortly after, Universal Music, which he is signed under, successfully petitioned streaming services to remove a song called ‘Heart on my sleeve’ which used deepfaked vocals of him and The Weeknd. They argued that “the training of generative AI using our artists’ music” was “a violation of copyright law.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by SCREENSHOT (@screenshothq)

A growing number of AI researchers have vocalised and warned that its capability of automating specific tasks, algorithm influence and healthcare contribution has not only created a powerful and hopeful future but also a dangerous one, potentially filled with misinformation.

So much so that an open letter signed by dozens of academics from across the world—including tech billionaire and now owner of Twitter, Elon Musk—has called on developers to learn more about consciousness, as AI systems become more advanced. So, could the development of AI be the end of creative originality?

“It hasn’t affected my way of creating because I try to create outside the box,” Jordain Johnson, aka Outlaw the Artist, a British-born but LA-based rapper and songwriter, told SCREENSHOT. “I work with international artists so my sound is innovative within itself. For instance, my song ‘Slow you down mixes drum and bass and G-funk, so it’s a lot of different energies that can’t be mimicked by AI.”

Outlaw argues that AI could be a cost-free marketing tactic for up and coming artists trying to reach more listeners. Advertising, features, music videos can all be taken care of thanks to Artificial Intelligence.  While the rapper remains hopeful that the new technology won’t affect his art, it is an industry that is moving at breakneck speeds and is already on a dangerous trajectory. The music industry is strained enough, and the introduction of a tool that lacks nuance, spontaneity, and the emotional touch that only humans can provide will only strain it further.

According to Verdict, AI-generated music will never be able to gather a mass following because it lacks emotional intelligence—human creativity and ambition is quickly being diluted by our technological advancements, with little signs of a slow down. “Music is often considered a reflection of the times,” so for this reason “the most compelling case for AI music is to serve as a companion to human musicians, catalysing the creative process.”

In agreement, Outlaw describes it as a natural progression: “We moved from analogue to digital, from LimeWire to SoundCloud, and most notably, from CDs to online streaming. It’s forever evolving but it’ll always have a nostalgic feel to it. I’m always looking and thinking about the next thing so AI is a tool. Some tools are sharp and could cut you, but they’re always useful.” But what happens when the tools stop needing a smith?

Keep On Reading

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Meet Sisters of the Valley, the nuns revolutionising the weed industry one doobie at a time

By Abby Amoakuh

Why you should keep an eye on The Summer I Turned Pretty star Lola Tung and her Broadway debut

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Former boy band member accuses Taylor Swift of performing demonic rituals at concerts

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Who is Timhouthi Chalamet? The Yemini mystery man touring captured cargo boats in the Red Sea

By Charlie Sawyer

Why is Amish TikToker Sarah Joy being questioned on her religion?

By Louis Shankar

The TV finales that saved 2023, and the ones that royally ruined it

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Exploitation exposed: British farms accused of modern slavery amid Home Office cover-up

By Charlie Sawyer

From her black eye to her journey out of Mormonism, here’s the real Salt Lake City queen Heather Gay

By Charlie Sawyer

Megan Fox accused of xenophobia after comparing bad photo of herself to Ukrainian blowup doll

By Fleurine Tideman

Is BeReal dead? We asked two social media experts and the app’s COO to find out

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

From breast cancer survivors to greenwashing: Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS nipple bra heats up the internet

By Abby Amoakuh

Suki Waterhouse expecting first child with Robert Pattinson, flaunts baby bump in sparkly dress

By Abby Amoakuh

21-year-old mistakes terminal cancer for normal back pain and dies within days

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Strippers’ bill of rights: Understanding the new law protecting adult dancers in Washington State

By Abby Amoakuh

Are Jeremy Allen White and Rosalía dating? We compiled all the evidence for this hot, new romance

By Charlie Sawyer

Top Captain Holt moments from Brooklyn Nine-Nine that will make us miss Andre Braugher

By Charlie Sawyer

Gypsy Rose Blanchard says husband Ryan Anderson’s D is fire after trolls call him a creep

By Alma Fabiani

Cult leader accused of being behind 400 deaths including 191 children

By Abby Amoakuh

Pro-suicide website finally blocked by broadband providers after being linked to 50 deaths in the UK

By Abby Amoakuh

Black models boycott Melbourne Fashion Week to protest racial discrimination