YouTube ushers in the age of AI music clones

If you’re like us, there’s a good chance your music career began and ended with high school band class. Now, YouTube’s new AI tools could make your popstar dreams a reality.

What happened: YouTube has launched Dream Track, its new generative AI tool that lets users create short pieces of music in the style of famous artists with a simple text prompt (i.e. “A sunny morning in Florida, R&B”) or hummed tune.

  • So far, nine artists have signed on to collaborate with YouTube, including big names like Sia, Troye Sivan, and, very fittingly, the ‘King of Autotune’ himself, T-Pain.     

Catch-up: After YouTube owner Google took down a viral AI deepfake song — using the vocals of Drake and The Weeknd — from the platform earlier this year, it struck a deal with music label titan Universal Music Group to work together on AI.

  • Starting next year, YouTube will also give labels the power to remove any AI content mimicking one of their musicians, even if it’s used for parodic or satirical purposes. 

Zoom out: YouTube isn’t the only name in the AI music game. CreateSafe, the company behind Grimes’ voice cloning tool, also launched its platform yesterday as a free open beta. 

Why it matters: AI clones have musicians concerned about losing control of their image and voice, but if more artists and labels strike deals to approve robo-replicants, AI songs could drive new income for musicians, creators, and those of us not cool enough to be in a band. 

  • The ability to create a radio-ready song with just a few clicks could potentially democratize music production, per some industry experts. 

What’s next: We’ll have to wait and see if and when the upper echelon of music superstars — no offence, T-Pain — start commissioning their own AI clones. That’s how we’ll know when AI music really has legs.—QH