As creators and rightsholders think about how to respond to the threats and opportunities represented by generative artificial intelligence, recordings made with the technology are already causing a stir. The biggest one yet: “Heart On My Sleeve,” a recording by the creator Ghostwriter that features what seems to be AI-generated imitations of vocals by Drake and The Weeknd — and amassed over 600,000 Spotify streams before being yanked from the platform.
Since then, tracks that use AI-synthesized voices to imitate famous artists have flooded streaming services and social media, triggering a fierce debate among artists, industry executives and fans alike. Universal Music Group fired back, insisting in a statement on the responsibility of platforms to protect artists from such exploitation. While some legal opposition to these tracks pertains to how AI tools “learn” from copyrighted works at the “training” stage, our focus is on the issues surrounding the “output” created using these AI tools and the potential protections for artists and labels against soundalike recordings in both US and UK law.