YouTube Experiments with Artificial Intelligence Tool Replicating Vocal Tones of Pop Stars

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Demi Lovato is one of the artists who has licensed her voice to YouTube [GETTY IMAGES]
Demi Lovato is one of the artists who has licensed her voice to YouTube [GETTY IMAGES]

Quick Overview:

  • Notable artists like Charli XCX, Charlie Puth, Troye Sivan, and Sia have granted permission for YouTube to “clone” their voices.
  • Users can effortlessly generate songs incorporating these artists’ vocals using a straightforward text prompt.
  • The experimental tool is presently accessible to approximately 100 users.
  • This development coincides with the music industry grappling with the potential advantages and challenges posed by Artificial Intelligence.

YouTube has unveiled an artificial intelligence tool enabling users to mimic the voices of pop stars such as Demi Lovato and John Legend.

YouTube has introduced an innovative artificial intelligence tool named Dream Track, enabling users to emulate the voices of popular artists like Demi Lovato, John Legend, Charli XCX, Troye Sivan, T-Pain, and Sia.

This experimental feature allows users to craft brief songs by describing elements such as lyrical content and mood.

Approximately 100 creators in the US currently have access to Dream Track, which is limited to providing soundtracks for videos on YouTube Shorts, YouTube’s answer to TikTok.

The software has received approval from nine artists, who have essentially allowed their voices to be “cloned” by the AI tool.

YouTube released two sample videos featuring Dream Track, one attempting a ballad about opposites attracting with an upbeat acoustic feel, mimicking Charlie Puth’s style. While the imitation is recognizable, it falls short in quality, displaying digital artifacts and occasional muddiness in Puth’s voice.

The newly introduced AI tool, Dream Track, attempts to emulate the distinctive R&B-leaning pop style of artists like Charlie Puth, showcasing lyrics that, while straightforward, resonate with phrases like “Baby, we’ve got nothing in common / But I know I’m what you’ve been wanting.”

YouTube’s head of music outlined the tool’s purpose in a blog post, emphasizing its role in testing, learning, and gathering feedback from artists and viewers. This experimental phase aims to explore how technology can foster deeper connections between artists, content creators, and their fanbase.

The launch of Dream Track follows YouTube’s recent announcement of alerting viewers when they encounter videos created with artificial intelligence. Additionally, users now have the option to request the removal of AI-generated videos featuring identifiable individuals.

Unlike other AI tools, Dream Track stands out as it has explicit approval from the involved artists. However, this highlights the broader discussion surrounding AI in the creative industries. Existing tools have faced legal challenges, with concerns about copyright violations, exemplified by lawsuits involving notable authors and disputes over AI-generated music using artists’ vocals.

This legal grey area became evident when Universal Music successfully petitioned to remove a song called “Heart On My Sleeve,” utilizing AI-generated vocals from their artists Drake and The Weeknd. While the label argued that training generative AI with their artists’ music violated copyright law, this position remains untested in court, underscoring the ongoing debate surrounding AI’s role in creative expression.

T-Pain: "I have always been about pushing the boundaries of technology and harnessing it to make the most interesting music for my fans." [GETTY IMAGES]
T-Pain: “I have always been about pushing the boundaries of technology and harnessing it to make the most interesting music for my fans.” [GETTY IMAGES]

Despite reservations from some quarters, Universal’s head, Lucian Grainge, joined other music industry leaders in endorsing YouTube’s latest advancement. In a statement, Grainge emphasized the need for collaboration between artists and technology partners to foster an environment conducive to responsible AI development, promoting a future of mutual success.

Artists involved, like Charli XCX, expressed cautious optimism about the experiment. While acknowledging the transformative potential of AI in the world and the music industry, Charli XCX sees the experiment as providing a glimpse into the creative possibilities and is curious to witness the outcomes.

T-Pain echoed the sentiment, highlighting the swift evolution of AI technology and the importance of artists actively shaping its future. Demi Lovato, emphasizing the need for artists’ involvement in the AI technology landscape, concurred, stating that artists should contribute to shaping the future of this rapidly advancing technology.

While the attention may gravitate towards the ability to replicate famous voices, Google also unveiled various other AI music projects. These include a tool enabling artists to hum a melody, with the software generating an instrumental based on the tune. Google emphasized transparency by disclosing that AI-generated content produced with these tools would be watermarked for identification.

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