In early April, music fans woke to a new song featuring the voices of the famous Canadian artists The Weeknd and Drake. The internet was set on fire, with millions of people streaming the song titled “Heart on My Sleeve” on platforms like YouTube and Tik Tok. Within days, the international music corporation Universal Music Group filed a legal takedown of the song. The reason: it was purely AI generated. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made its way into several industries and the $26 billion dollar music industry is no exception. As the track “Heart on my Sleeve” pointed out, AI technology can have a major impact on the industry. 

For musicians, AI can already assist in several parts of the music production process. AI’s powerful algorithms can play around with the sound and patterns of music, creating harmonies and arrangements that would otherwise take several human musicians to create. 

With digital platforms on the rise, we have been able to catalog millions of songs from every genre, country, and generation. With the entire history of human-made music at its disposal, AI can analyse and mimic music in sometimes otherworldly ways. 

AI technology helps make these popular music streaming platforms do things we could have only imagined in the past. From creating personalised music recommendations to analysing the listener’s music habits, AI allows these platforms the ability to curate a person’s ultimate music list. This task, impossible when music was a tangible commodity, has made AI technology in music here to stay. 

For artists looking to expand their sound and even recreate the past, AI technology looks like it can be a promising tool. In 1980, John Lennon recorded several songs on a boombox in the artist’s apartment. The sound quality was poor and Lo-fi. After Lennon’s death in December of that same year, his widow Yoko Ono sent Sir Paul Mcartney the tapes, labeled “For Paul.” 

In a Radio 4 Interview in 2023, Sir Mcartney said, “We had John’s voice and a piano and he could separate them with AI. So when we came to make what will be the Beatles’ record, it was a demo that John had and we were able to take John’s voice and get it pure through this AI.” 

As exciting as one more Beatles song may be, many artists and music fans are convinced that AI will probably never replace human musicians. Technology has revolutionised music in everything from production to streaming, allowing artists and listeners new ways to make and enjoy music. But music, like other art forms, still belongs to the human creative mind. Even the AI generated song “Heart on My Sleeve” was thought up by a human. Will AI ever be able to outpace us on a creative level? That’s something we’ll have to wait to find out.