The music industry is no stranger to controversy, and the latest debate surrounds the use of generative AI. This technology has the ability to transform snippets of a person’s voice into an entire song, which has sparked concerns over copyright infringement. However, some argue that it could also bring a deceased artist’s voice back to life. The Beatles are one of the first major bands to take advantage of this technology, with Paul McCartney revealing on BBC’s Best of Today podcast that the band would be releasing a new track soon with the help of AI.
McCartney shared that the band used AI to transform a demo that John Lennon had created into a full song. “We were able to take John’s voice, and get it pure through this AI so then we could mix the record as we would normally do,” he explained. While McCartney did not reveal the name of the demo, rumors suggest that it could be Lennon’s unfinished song, “Now and Then”. This song had been considered previously as a possible reunion track.
This is not the first time that The Beatles have used AI in their music production. The technology was also used in the making of the Let it Be album, where Peter Jackson was able to extract John’s voice from a cassette recording.
While some artists and music labels have taken a position against the use of generative AI, McCartney sees it as an exciting development for the future of music. “It’s kind of scary but exciting because it’s the future,” he said. The AI music generation space is continuing to grow, with Meta unveiling MusicGen, an open-source music-generating tool that can take text or melody and produce it into audio. Other capable models in the space include OpenAI’s JukeBox, Google’s Music LM, and Riffusion.
The use of AI in music is not limited to generating songs. Spotify has also unveiled new features, including an AI DJ that can create personalized playlists for users. The AI analyzes the user’s listening history and creates a playlist based on their preferences.
As with any new technology, there are concerns over its impact on the music industry. However, the use of AI in music production has the potential to bring new life to old recordings and create new and exciting tracks. The Beatles have once again proven that they are ahead of their time, and it will be interesting to see how other artists and music labels embrace this technology in the future.