A viral AI-generated song that mimicked the vocals of Drake and The Weeknd has been pulled from multiple streaming platforms after label Universal Music Group (UMG) filed a complaint for copyright violation. The song, called “Heart on My Sleeve,” was removed from Spotify and Apple Music on Monday, and by Tuesday, it was taken down from YouTube, Amazon, SoundCloud, Tidal, Deezer, and TikTok. The song had already been streamed 15 million times on TikTok alone after being uploaded by a user called Ghostwriter977, who claimed responsibility for producing the AI-generated vocals in a now-deleted post. Some versions of the song are still available online.
Despite being played 600,000 times on Spotify and receiving 275,000 views on YouTube, the copyright status of the song remains unclear as it was not produced by the artists themselves. However, UMG insists that the use of their artists’ music in the training of generative AI represents a violation of copyright law and breaches their agreements. The music publisher also emphasized the legal and ethical responsibility of platforms to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists.
The incident highlights the need for platforms to be more vigilant in preventing the use of their services in ways that harm artists. While there are intellectual property issues, it’s not really clear whether the label or the artists have a claim under traditional copyright law, given that the song in question isn’t something the artists ever wrote or sang. Nevertheless, this is just the beginning of what’s likely to be a long and complex conflict between excitement over deploying artificial intelligence in pop culture and efforts to protect copyright.