AI-Generated Music: Friend or foe?

There are a lot of hot topics floating around our culture, one of which is artificial intelligence (AI). Though AI is a field that has been in development for quite some time, recently it has dominated the conversation in a number of industries. Those in tech, media, and analytics have been watching major news outlets debate whether or not AI will eradicate their job. AI is floating like a heavy, damp cloud over artists and producers in the music industry as well.

Many of us might recognize AI’s relationship with music in the form of AI-generated covers on TikTok, where you can find Eric Cartman singing “Zombie,” or Elvis singing “Take Me to Church.” Recently, an AI-generated song called “Heart on My Sleeve” was released, which mimicked the voices of Drake and The Weeknd. Hearing such examples of AI’s ability to generate music has caused some panic among members of the music community. Artists and producers seem to be mixed on their opinions regarding AI, but most lean toward AI being a threat to how the music industry functions right now.

The infiltration of AI into the music production process introduces one major benefit: enhanced speed. The rate at which AI software can create music is a drastic change from the current processes. Where it may take an artist a week to write, record, and produce one song (which is a generous timeline), it can take AI software minutes to do the same. Though this could be beneficial for people trying to crank out albums quickly, AI’s speed comes with consequences.


For starters, dedicated use of AI to create and produce music would result in substantial job losses in the industry. With its ability to write, create, produce, and master on its own, there is potentially no longer a need for producers, songwriters, or musicians.

Another aspect of AI that artists are wary of is the potential to mimic voices of existing musicians (as is the case with the Drake and The Weeknd song). It’s a rational fear, but one artist in particular is openly supportive of vocal mimicry: Grimes. The singer has publicly supported AI in the past, including in her interview with The New York Times, where she said: “I think AI is great. Creatively, I think AI can replace humans. And so I think at some point, we will want to, as a species, have a discussion about how involved AI will be in art.”

The singer has also taken to X to voice her support for AI-generated music, noting that she would split royalties 50/50 with anyone who generates a successful AI song using her voice. However, she’s in a pretty significant minority in her industry – artists who have publicly expressed concern with AI’s involvement in music include Drake, Billie Eilish, Bad Bunny, Sheryl Crow, Ed Sheeran, and Lil Wayne.

To look on a potentially optimistic side of the AI debate, the introduction of AI to softwares like Spotify or Apple Music could yield interesting results. Spotify has already been toying with their DJ feature, in which users can activate an AI DJ to curate a queue of songs. The AI pulls from the user’s listening habits and interests in an attempt to create user-centric content. This type of algorithm is commonplace in systems like Spotify, but DJ is unique in that the DJ speaks to you in real time as it curates what you’ll be listening to. This use of AI in the music industry could actually be useful, especially if it’s used to introduce users to new music they may not have found on their own. AI like Spotify’s DJ can help music lovers to discover new artists, genres, or playlists that are within the same wheelhouse of music they already like. Not only does this engage users on a deeper level, but could allow newer or lesser-known artists to gain more exposure.

It’s hard to predict what the future of AI is going to look like. Some say that it’s going to take over the world and take everyone’s jobs, and others say that society will learn to work with AI to improve a number of industries. Whatever your stance may be, it’s interesting to see how AI has been worming its way through the music industry. It poses a chance to significantly revolutionize the way music is produced, but one can only hope that won’t be at the expense of those who are creating it presently.