The song in question not a genuine track, but a convincing fake created by “research and deployment company” OpenAI, whose Jukebox project uses artificial intelligence to generate music, complete with lyrics, in a variety of genres and artist styles. Along with Sinatra, they’ve done what are known as “deepfakes” of Katy Perry, Elvis, Simon and Garfunkel, 2Pac, Céline Dion and more. Having trained the model using 1.2m songs scraped from the web, complete with the corresponding lyrics and metadata, it can output raw audio several minutes long based on whatever you feed it. Input, say, Queen or Dolly Parton or Mozart, and you’ll get an approximation out the other end.
“As a piece of engineering, it’s really impressive,” says Dr Matthew Yee-King, an electronic musician, researcher and academic at Goldsmiths. (OpenAI declined to be interviewed.) “They break down an audio signal into a set of lexemes of music – a dictionary if you like – at three different layers of time, giving you a set of core fragments that is sufficient to reconstruct the music that was fed in. The algorithm can then rearrange these fragments, based on the stimulus you input.
The music business has always been about technological change, see here.