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Look what they've done to my song, Ma

Look what they've done to my song, Ma

I, for one, have absolutely no sympathy for record companies. They opened Pandora's box years ago and now the consequences have come back to bite them

Peter Edgerton. www.peteredgerton.com

Friday, 19 May 2023, 13:06

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Last month an alleged song by Drake and The Weeknd, generated with software called SoftVC VITS, went viral on social media until it was deleted by TikTok, YouTube and Spotify.

Now then, I can fully understand that anybody over the age of thirteen reading that first sentence will have thought that they'd picked up a copy of Gobbledegook Weekly rather than their regular copy of the highly esteemed SUR in English. Luckily, as a chap with his finger on the pulse of what's going down wiv da yoof, I'm able to explain. Loosely translated, it means that some scoundrels, possibly with personal hygiene issues, munching on Pot Noodles in their mothers' basements, used artificial intelligence to fake a new song by some hip, trendy dudes but when the social media boffins realised it was false, they put down their quinoa smoothies for a minute or two and deleted the offending hoax. There, I bet you feel better for that.

Meanwhile another singer/producer called Frank Ocean has been left all at sea after a new ditty fans were led to believe was his, was sold on Spotify or something of the ilk. Apparently, some other people with ponytails and nothing better to do had, in fact, used artificial intelligence tools to analyse snippets of Mr Ocean's previous work in order to create something in his stylieee. Word has it, it fooled vast swathes of listeners. It would have been funny if they'd confused Frank with Billy and concocted a rap version of Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car. Didn't happen, unfortunately.

All of this shenanigans has, as you might expect, led to much harrumphing and manufactured outrage from within the music industry.

"How dare they use technology to make formulaic hits with minimal human input!", they wail, simultaneously throwing their wobbly toy Elvises out of the pram.

Hang on a minute, fellas. That's exactly what you've been doing for decades with your auto-tuning devices, pre-programmed rhythms and samples of more talented people's work. It's a bit rich that you're now complaining that artificial intelligence has taken things just a little bit further than you'd taken them yourselves anyway.

I, for one, have absolutely no sympathy for record companies. They opened Pandora's box years ago and now that the consequences have come back to bite them, they stamp their feet like spoiled toddlers in risible fits of confected righteousness.

Unlucky, boys. Be careful what you wish for.

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