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AI-generated Drake, The Weeknd’s ‘Heart On My Sleeve’ struck from streaming services

“Metro made the beat, so you know it’s gon’ slap.”

As much as you might not want to admit it, the viral AI-created track of Drake and The Weeknd isn’t half bad.

Embracing debate, a TikTok user by the name of Ghostwriter977, a former songwriter tired of not being recognized for his work, posted promotional snippets of his new track “Heart On My Sleeve” on TikTok. These clips naturally blew up over the weekend, featuring synthetic vocals of OVOXO reuniting for a long-teased collaboration.

Produced by faux Metro Boomin — placing his iconic producer tag at the start of the song — “Heart On My Sleeve” has amassed over 15 million total views (and counting) on Ghostwriter’s account. Prior to the posts, it was officially released on digital streaming platforms earlier this month (April 4), underscoring greater implications of music’s AI revolution.

A callback to their former sounds, “Heart On My Sleeve” feels like a fever dream. “I came in with my ex like Selena to flex / Bumpin’ Justin Bieber, the fever ain’t left / She know what she need, Anita, she blessed / Givin’ you my best,” Robo-Drake raps, as not-Abel croons about speeding off in a Lamborghini Aventador, among other toxic bars. While not perfectly mixed or completely smooth sounding, it’s easily one of the best showcases of AI technology creating original music. However, there’s consequences — and potential legal liability — that arise from using an artist’s likeness without their approval, as neither Toronto-bred star contributed to the song’s creation.

“Heart On My Sleeve” has since been removed from platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and TIDAL — revealing an unprecedented issue that fully encapsulates “man vs. machine.” Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, later released a statement on Monday afternoon, condemning “infringing content created with generative AI.” UMG previously implored streaming services to block usage of AI-generated uploads on their platforms, according to the Financial Times. Interestingly, UMG is the parent company of Republic Records, which houses distribution deals from Drake, The Weeknd and Metro Boomin.

The nameless, faceless Ghostwriter — who dons a white sheet and glasses — took to his videos’ comment sections to explain the arrival of “Heart On My Sleeve.” “I was a ghostwriter for years and got paid close to nothing just for major labels to profit,” he wrote. “The future is here.” All three artists’ likeness were lifted in effort to create the track, which presented a glaring thorn in the side of AI’s trending inclusion in music. While struck from streaming, the song remains on YouTube and SoundCloud.

The Human Artistry Campaign, which was launched in March to protect the rights of human creators, issued a call against AI’s expansion into creator entities. These rapidly growing tech advancements have been a cause for major concern amongst creatives, as the campaign has been backed by a list of over 40 founding major music and entertainment organizations, including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Recording Academy and more, per Rolling Stone.

“Human artistry is irreplicable. Recent developments in AI are remarkable, but we have seen the costs before of rushing heedlessly forward without real thought or respect for law and rights. Our principles are designed to chart a healthy path for AI innovation that enhances and rewards human artistry, creativity, and performance.”

Statement from Mitch Glazier, RIAA chairman and CEO

With AI only becoming more accessible, user-friendly and fluid in our everyday lives, a core discussion has been created: Who — or what — will be remembered more in the decades to come? The artist? Or the voice. Take Drake’s “Search & Rescue” for example: The comparison is too close for comfort.

Let us know your thoughts in our comments! We’ll continue to monitor this story as it progresses.

Listen to “Heart On My Sleeve” below!