AI drake in studio: Drake's head in a jar. 
Right: a ghost wearing sunglasses.

What's The Deal With This AI Drake Song?

The arrival of powerful, cheap and widely available artificial intelligences last fall inspired a lot of frenzied and anxious reactions. But one thing people say to calm themselves down is that artificial intelligence won't be able to do what humans do best: produce works of art and generate creative ideas.

This argument took a blow in recent days with "Heart On My Sleeve," the AI-produced Drake song which went viral on TikTok and gained over a quarter of a million streams on Spotify before the corporate powers-that-be (allegedly) put the kibosh on it. The track imitates the iconic flow of Drake and the singing voice of The Weeknd, featuring lyrics and beats which sound a lot like a Drake song. Below, you'll find a repost:

Where Did "Heart On My Sleeve" Come From?

"Heart On My Sleeve" was first released on Spotify on April 2nd, 2023 by ghostwriter977, but it only went viral after an April 15th TikTok post, which has since been deleted. This post showed a person in a white sheet and sunglasses bumping to the song, and rapidly garnered millions of views.

In the TikTok post, ghostwriter977 said they used an AI to make the song but didn't specifically say which one. It's possible that they used a series of AIs. ChatGPT and other text-based language models produce words, while others such as ElevenLabs can imitate voices.

beeple @beeple 4h AI DRAKE IN STUDIO 81 197 OMI 1,415 F Marshall Marshall ₁61.8K Mar EFFE Marshall ←] : ...

After the initial viral spread on TikTok, the song crossed over to Twitter on April 16th, where it became involved in debates about the future of the music industry.

Roberto Nickson @rpnickson Listen to this Al generated song featuring Drake & The Weeknd. It goes so hard. It's by "Ghostwriter977" on TikTok and it's blowing up on socials + streaming platforms. UMG, which controls around 1/3 of the global music market, has already asked streaming platforms to ban Al. A modern Napster moment. Will be fascinating to watch this all unfold in real-time. 1:54 4.5M views ⠀ 12:31 PM - Apr 16, 2023. 11.7M Views

From there, it exploded across all platforms. Know Your Meme got an entry up about the song on April 17th.

How Did The Music Industry Respond?

By April 18th, the song had been removed from Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and other platforms. In a press release, Universal Music Group (Drake and The Weeknd's label) called for audiences to pick a side: artificial intelligence spamming or artistic creators. UMG also raised concerns about AI models training themselves on the music produced by it and its artists, which is already available on streaming platforms.

What Are The Theories?

Something fishy is going on with this song, and the internet is full of theories about who is actually behind it and why. Some think the whole thing might be some elaborate industry plant kind of situation: Drake hasn't said anything against this latest song, but in the past he's been vocal in criticizing AI versions of his tracks. Some find that sketchy.

Mitchell Cohen @MitchellLandon Apr 16 This song by Drake and the Weeknd is generated all by ai. It's such a banger, people think it's maybe a marketing move by Drake. Except, the creator Ghostwriter977 on tiktok (and imghostwriter on YouTube) keeps mentioning the link in bio... :

In ghostwriter977's bio, there's a link to a Web3 platform where they have posted the song. Some speculate that this platform, Laylo, is behind "Heart on my Sleeve," but the CEO has told journalists that Laylo has nothing to do with ghostwriter977.

What Will It Mean For Music?

Artificial Intelligence promises to disrupt many industries, including the most creative ones. The technology poses interesting questions about originality: if a robot learns to copy Drake's voice by scanning a bunch of Drake songs, is that (legally) any different from a human learning to imitate Drake's style and then make their own music using some of the lessons they've learned from him?

Already, artificial intelligence has disrupted the memes industry: some of the biggest memes of 2023 are made in collaboration with artificial intelligence, such as Balenciagafication and Pope Francis Drip. There will likely be even more to come.

For more information on "Heart on my Sleeve," visit the entry on it here.

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