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The AI is Here: Beatles Fans Celebrate `Fresh` Music

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to create “reunions” of The Beatles by combining their solo work and restoring their voices to their youthful peaks. The AI-generated songs raise ethical and legal questions, but have received positive feedback from fans. The AI technology scrapes the nuances of a particular voice and applies it to a new song, a process that requires skilled human operators and extensive knowledge of traditional music processing software. While the results can be impressive, the technology is still in the hands of a small percentage of the population who can operate it effectively.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now creating new Beatles music, much to the delight of fans who have been yearning for more since the band broke up over 50 years ago. From reuniting the Fab Four on songs from their solo careers to reimagining Paul McCartney’s later works with his voice restored to its youthful peak, the new creations show how far this technology has come. However, they also raise a host of ethical and legal questions.

The AI-generated music has been met with overwhelming positivity, with one listener commenting on a fan-created AI cover of McCartney’s 2013 single, “New,” saying, “I’m sobbing! This is so beautiful!!!” The cover features de-aged vocals and a bridge part “sung” by John Lennon, McCartney’s great songwriting partner and friend who passed away in 1980.

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Another impressive AI-created Beatles track is a version of “Grow Old With Me,” one of the last songs written by Lennon. The song was posthumously released after Lennon’s murder and was recently remade by an AI creator who goes by the name “Dae Lims.” The new version features enhanced audio quality, an orchestral arrangement, and harmonized backing vocals that evoke the heyday of the Liverpool rockers. The most stirring moment of the song comes when McCartney croons over a soaring melody with poignant lyrics about aging.

The sentimentality of the new AI-generated Beatles music has caught many fans off-guard. Music YouTuber Steve Onotera, who goes by the name “SamuraiGuitarist” and has a million followers, said in a recent video discussing the new works’ unforeseen sentimental resonance, “When I hear this, I lose it. I start crying.” After the most influential band in history parted ways acrimoniously, fans were deprived of a final “happy ending.” So, when they get that reunion artificially yet convincingly created by AI, it’s surprisingly emotional.

The creators of the AI-generated music would have used scraping technology to analyze and capture the nuances of a particular voice. They would have then sung the parts themselves and applied the cloned voice, similar to placing a filter on a photograph. While the results can be astonishing, getting there isn’t simple and requires skilled human operators combining new AI tools with extensive knowledge of traditional music processing software, According to a report from Zohaib Ahmed, the CEO of Resemble AI, a Toronto-based voice cloning company.

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While the AI-generated Beatles music has been received positively, it raises ethical and legal questions. For example, who owns the rights to the AI-generated music? Is it the creators or the original copyright holders? Additionally, what are the implications of using AI to create music that sounds like it was produced by deceased musicians?

The use of AI in music creation is not new. Earlier, a track called “Heart on a Sleeve” featured AI-generated vocals of Drake and The Weeknd and racked up millions of hits on TikTok and other platforms. However, AI-generated Beatles music takes things to a whole new level. As AI technology continues to advance, it’s likely that more AI-generated music from beloved artists will be created. However, the ethical and legal implications of the use of AI in music creation will need to be addressed.

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