Deepfake Creator Ghostwriter Releases AI Travis Scott and 21 Savage Song
The AI Ghostwriter is back with a Travis Scott/21 savage song…
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 5, 2023
The anonymous music creator Ghostwriter has released another AI-powered song, this time mimicking rappers Travis Scott and 21 Savage in a song called “Whiplash.” Ghostwriter drew millions of views on TikTok for the AI Drake and The Weeknd song “Heart on My Sleeve” and AI Rihanna and Bad Bunny song “Por Qué” before the videos were taken down, and likely millions more from reposts elsewhere. Ghostwriter even submitted “Heart on My Sleeve” for 2023 Grammy contention. The song targets the Best Rap Song and Song of the Year categories, and Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said the track is eligible based on the human songwriting credits. But AI vocals likely violate distribution requirements.
“The future of music is here. Artists now have the ability to let their voice work for them without lifting a finger,” Ghostwriter’s post-song message reads. “It’s clear that people want this song. DM me on Instagram if you’re interested in allowing me to release this record or if you’d like me to remove this post.”
Ghostwriter isn’t alone in playing with the possibilities for deepfake songs. Music producer and artist Timbaland shared a sample of a song featuring a deepfake voice of the Notorious BIG before pausing work on it after some backlash from fans of the deceased rapper. Meanwhile, musical artist Grimes has gone so far as to offer 50% of the royalties on any AI-generated song that uses her voice. Holly Herndon outright offers a free synthetic version of her voice to make music with called Holly+, and the musical group YACHT trained an AI model to write an entire album called “Chain Tripping.”
Ghostwriter also said that if Travis Scott and 21 Savage gave permission for the song to exist, we would send them the royalties. But, the new song underlines both how quickly deepfake music has evolved and how uncertain the legal and regulatory infrastructure around it remains. Streaming service Deezer is working on building AI tools to detect and remove deepfake singers and synthetically generated songs from its platform, but that may not be enough.
After sending many notices of copyright infringement to streaming services over viral hits like those produced by Ghostwriter, Universal Music Group (UMG) has begun working on a long-term solution by partnering with Google to craft a licensing agreement for songs. Google has already demonstrated its interest in the space with Google showing off a text-to-music generator named MusicLM in March that it refused to make public due to concerns it might infringe on copyright. Meta would likely benefit from that kind of deal too after releasing open-source generative AI music tool called Audiocraft.