Updated: November 19
Not all musicians are going to fight with AI that is clearly taking over the idustry with these countless generative AI copycats and voice-cloning tools. Some, it seems, are going to or already have embraced it.
Kill the DJ delves into the stories of the artists embracing AI rather than fearing it and reshaping the way music is made and consumed.
Voice cloning is akin to fan-fiction (driven by Grimes)
Electronic artist Grimes is among the pioneers who let fans not just consume but actively involve in music making. With her voice. She made it through Elf.Tech, an open-source software that allows fans to use Grimes' vocals and put them on their own songs. More than 15,000 compositions with the singer's voice have been made from the beta phase, where users input their own singing recordings, and Elf.Tech creates renditions in the voice of Grimes herself.
But that's not the end of it. Apart from just letting her fans play with her voice stems, Grime promised to pay a generous 50% split of master recording royalties for those who choose to broadcast their AI-made compositions online.
Why, though? Why would any artits want to lend their voice and let fans create coutless deepfakes that might do more harm than good? According to Grime's manager Daouda Leonard's interview to Rolling Stone, "She [Grimes] often says that creativity is a conversation with those who came before us and those who are going to come after us. She’s like, ‘Well, let me open-source that. Let me allow people to access what the universe gave me as a gift. And if I do that, what are the new experiences that can be created out of that?'"
He then adds, "What’s the difference between this and what people have been doing with properties like League of Legends, Harry Potter, Star Wars, etcetera, where they’re making all of this amazing fan art and they’re also monetizing that amazing fan art?"
In her interview to the Have a Nice Future podcast by Wired, Grimes even said some songs made by fans were so impressive she regretted she wasn't the one to compose them. In the same podcast, she claimed she wanted to be "less famous."
Now, Grimes takes her AI story to the next level, teaming up with CreateSafe's Triniti API to launch a platform that invites artists to share their new works on major streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and more. Since the platform's inception, over 1,000 songs have already been generated.
If you head over to Spotify right now and enter "Grimes," you'll see two artists: Grimes and GrimesAI. Who performs better?
Holly+, a digital twin of Holly Herndon, who married AI & her voice before every other artist did
Holly Herndon was the first to step into uncharted territory with Holly+, a digital twin that allows users to upload their audio and receive a processed version with Herndon's unmistakable voice.
What sets Holly+ apart is the pioneering introduction of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization. Through this framework, Herndon aims to democratise the ownership of her digital likeness. The Holly+ DAO creates an environment where profits from artworks and licensing opportunities are shared among users, DAO members.
Herndon has been working with machine learning in her music for many years, and, in fact, was a pioneer who leveraged the technology in her Proto album.
As Herndon told The New Yorker, "I've never really fetishized my voice. I always thought my voice was an input, like a signal input into a laptop."
Liam Bailey, Angie Brown, Edwin Honoret & more artists' voices behind the paywall of voice-cloning tools
The latest players joining the game are Voice-Swap and Kits.ai. These AI voice cloning tools aim to change how users engage with vocal replication technology, offering unique features and diverse rosters of voices—from rising talents to established industry names.
Voice-Swap introduces a subscription-based service starting at £5.99 per month (with one-off payments on the horizon), so users can seamlessly upload their acapellas and transmute them into the voices of popular singers. The roster includes models from collaborators of Chase and Status and Shy FX, such as Liam Bailey, as well as the voices of Dominique Young Brown, Angie Brown, and more.
Adding to this AI+artists synergy is Kits.ai, a recently developed tool driven by the team behind the blockchain DAW Arpeggi Labs. Kits.ai takes a unique approach by offering a series of royalty-free voices, accessible for personal use at no cost–perfect for social media content. The platform doesn't stop there, however, and unveils an exclusive "Artists Voice" section, behind a paywall of $9.99 per month.
While the royalty-free models draw inspiration from session singers, the Artists Voice section is a treasure trove trained on the vocals of popular arists, such as Reo Cragun, Edwin Honoret, and Sophia Galaté.
YouTube's "Dream Track" is finally on track with the voices of Sia, Demi Lovato & more
YouTube invents its own AI and artists collaboration by partnering with Music AI Incubator's cast of artists. This collaboration involves notable names like Charlie Puth, Sia, Demi Lovato, John Legend, and other artists who lend their AI-generated voices to creators on YouTube Shorts.
Trying to act ethically and responsibly towards the usage of AI and make content creation driven by artificial intelligence more controllable, YouTube leverages Google's DeepMind technology to offer a responsible and respectful AI experience. Creators can now seamlessly integrate AI-generated voices into their Shorts, expanding the boundaries of expression without violating artists' rights.