Videos featuring AI-generated voices of famous singers and iconic characters are quite popular on YouTube right now. If you’ve ever wanted to hear Frank Sinatra sing Radiohead’s “Creep,” you can. Though, these types of videos have garnered a lot of controversy due to copyright infringement and using artists’ voices without their permission. For example, in April 2023, a channel named Ghostwriter977 posted a AI-generated song featuring generated voices of Drake and The Weekend, named “Heart on My Sleeve.” Many listeners believed the song was real, however, neither singers had worked on the song, nor gave their consent for the channel to use their voices. Nevertheless, the song went viral.

Now, YouTube is currently testing AI-powered tools that can allow creators to generate unique short songs using famous singers’ voices. However, unlike many AI music videos, YouTube has the artists’ content. The first tool is called Dream Track, powered by Lyria, Google Deepmind’s music generation model. THis allows users to generate three-second tracks through prompts.

Making hit music with AI for Shorts

The style and voices of the generated tracks are based on nine pop artists who collaborated with YouTube for this project. The artists are Alec Benjamin, Charlie Puth, Charli XCX, Demi Lovato, John Legend, Papoose, Sia, T-Pain and Troye Sivan. The tool is currently being tested on a “small group of select US creators.”

As shown in the software’s demonstration, the sample prompt “A sunny morning in Florida, R&B” is generated using T-Pain’s music style. Another demonstration shows a prompt, “A ballad about how opposites attract, upbeat acoustic,” and it mimics Charlie Puth’s style. This new tool will be available for YouTube Shorts. 

We are happy to see that with the Dream Track tool YouTube is trying to push AI-generated music in the right direction by collaborating with artists. Following the controversial AI song that mimicked Drake and The Weekend without their permission, Universal Music took the song off of YouTube. It seems that the approach YouTube is taken is more accepted.

“One of YouTube’s greatest strengths is our strong relationships with music industry partners. We’re committed to collaborating with them as we enter this new era, critically exploring together new opportunities and developing sensible and sustainable controls, monetization and attribution frameworks,” YouTube said. 

However, since it’s only limited to a few creators, it’s not clear if YouTube will add more artists and launch the tool for everyone. This announcement comes after the company updated its guidelines on AI, specifically for deepfakes and AI-generated music.