AI has been making waves in various industries, and the music sector is no exception. One fascinating instance is that of a musician leveraging AI to virtually collaborate with global pop icon Taylor Swift, resulting in his song climbing the UK charts.
The Swiftie's Tale
Ben Hill, a 45-year-old musician, made headlines when he claimed to have used AI to incorporate Taylor Swift's vocals into his latest track. Operating under the stage name Posse Unit, Hill's song "Get Your Head On This" gained significant traction, peaking at number 28 in the UK iTunes chart.
Interestingly, Hill's journey in music began in 2001, long before AI was a buzzword in the industry. However, he only recently decided to experiment with AI, inspired by the Beatles' AI-assisted song, "Now and Then."
Harnessing the Power of AI
Hill's secret weapon was a service called LALAL.AI, an AI-powered tool that allows users to isolate vocals and various instruments from audio and video files. Using this AI tool, Hill was able to extract Taylor Swift's vocals and repurpose them as backing tracks for his song.
The process began with Hill downloading LALAL.AI in October 2023 - the tool is available as a web service and application for iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux.
He then isolated Swift's vocals from her existing songs, manipulated them to match the key of his song, and integrated them into his track. The phrase "Get Your Head On This" from one of Swift's songs was transformed into a catchy backing vocal, marking an innovative use of AI in music production.
The success of Hill's AI-assisted song was unprecedented. The song sits at number 36 in the UK iTunes chart after peaking at number 28. Moreover, it amassed over 21,000 views on YouTube. Hill's unique approach to music production garnered media attention, with his story being covered by multiple publications.
Hill's accomplishment is a testament to the transformative potential of AI in the music industry. It demonstrates how AI can open up new avenues for artistic expression, enabling musicians to reimagine existing songs, incorporate vocals from other artists, and craft songs that were previously unimaginable.
Despite the success and attention, Hill's innovative use of AI raised some eyebrows regarding copyright and intellectual property. Aware of the potential legal implications, Hill made efforts to contact Swift for permission before releasing the song. He even went as far as emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and messaging her on Instagram. However, when he didn't receive a response, he decided to go ahead with the release.
The legal landscape surrounding AI-generated music is still evolving, with debates around artists' rights and responsibilities. Licensing and copyright issues remain in the gray area, especially with platforms like YouTube taking steps to ensure direct payments to artists when their songs are used.
The future of AI in music holds exciting possibilities, but it also calls for thoughtful consideration of the legal and ethical implications. As the story of Ben Hill and his AI-assisted duet with Taylor Swift unfolds, it serves as a reminder of the fine line between innovation and infringement.