Fake AI-generated Drake/the Weeknd song pulled from streaming services

Drake speaks onstage during Drake's Till Death Do Us Part rap battle on October 30, 2021 in Long Beach, California.
Drake. The real one. Not the AI-generated one in "Heart on My Sleeve." (Amy Sussman / Getty Images)
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On Monday, Drake's new song "Search & Rescue" debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. But another track featuring his and the Weeknd's vocals has stolen some of its thunder: "Heart on My Sleeve," a song created by artificial intelligence that replicated their vocal likenesses.

The song racked up over 600,000 streams on Spotify before being taken down on Monday. It's also no longer available to stream on Apple Music, although it can still be found on YouTube and TikTok on Tuesday morning.

Universal Music Group, home to both Drake and the Weeknd, released a statement Monday that labeled the song a breach of copyright.

“UMG’s success has been, in part, due to embracing new technology and putting it to work for our artists — as we have been doing with our own innovation around AI for some time already," the label wrote. “With that said, however, the training of generative AI using our artists’ music (which represents both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law) as well as the availability of infringing content created with generative AI on DSPs [Digital Service Providers], begs the question as to which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation."

Online, many fans marveled at the song's ability to replicate the timbres and cadences of its real-life counterparts.

Over a four-note piano loop, Fake Drake drops references to collaborators Justin Bieber and 21 Savage, while later shouting out superproducer Metro Boomin for "creating the beat." A vocal model trained to sound like the Weeknd arrives next, mirroring Fake Drake's melodies.

The song was created by a TikTok user named Ghostwriter977. His YouTube page features several other artificial intelligence "covers," including Kanye West singing Drake's "Passionfruit" and Drake singing Colbie Caillat's "Bubbly."

Drake hasn't commented on "Heart on My Sleeve," but he did post on his Instagram story a different AI-created song, in which a Drake replicant rapped Ice Spice's breakout hit, "Munch."

"This is the final straw A.I.," Drake captioned the since-expired video.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.