Grimes and Bitcoin: Music production in the age of A.I.


An A.I.-generated song featuring a “collaboration” between Drake and The Weeknd turned up on streaming services and TikTok last month, quickly racking up millions of listens. In response, Universal Music Group, which represents the musicians, issued an agitated statement, and then, as the song turned up on other platforms, embarked on a legal whack-a-mole campaign in a bid to put the A.I. cat back in a bag.

All of this came even as the legal status of the song remains unclear. Some music business veterans argue the song was functionally no different than a remix, while others decried it as a dangerous new paradigm. Rarely does a video made by a random handle create such uproar.

Then there’s Grimes, who may not be as famous as fellow Canadian Drake, but is a critically acclaimed musician in her own right. Grimes, who is not affiliated with any record label, announced she will use that relative freedom to perform a radical experiment called “Elf.Tech.” Using A.I., Elf.Tech allows users to generate a Grimes-style work with their own inputs. In return, all Grimes asks…

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