Beatles AI Tracks Are Surfacing With Lennon & McCartney Realism — Is Any Artist Safe?

Paul McCartney performing in the Netherlands in 2009. (photo: Eddie Janssens)
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Paul McCartney performing in the Netherlands in 2009. (photo: Eddie Janssens)
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Paul McCartney performing in the Netherlands in 2009. Photo Credit: Eddie Janssens

With the well-documented explosion of artificial intelligence music continuing to evolve, a number of AI tracks made to sound like releases from The Beatles and other 20th century acts are becoming increasingly prevalent on YouTube and elsewhere.

Recent weeks have seen enterprising fans utilize artificial intelligence to create Drake, The Weeknd, Kanye West, Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Ariana Grande soundalike works, including covers and entirely new tracks. On top of these and separate AI projects, which have secured millions of cumulative views and elicited enthusiastic listener responses, some artists are embracing the quick-developing technology.

Now, the AI monster is spreading its tentacles to create, reinterpret and reimagine works from legendary acts like The Beatles. Suddenly, Lennon & McCartney are writing together like the old days, and stirring some Beatles fans to tears. Many of the early AI concoctions are being quickly ripped down with little explanation, according to tracks and videos monitored by Digital Music News.

Separately, Spotify’s Daniel Ek has publicly disclosed a seemingly supportive position on the creative possibilities of AI.  But define ‘creativity’: just recently, Spotify was flooded with minute-long “songs” that all sound extremely similar.

Attached to decidedly obscure artist profiles on Spotify under titles such as “Qeazpoor” and “Wancasse,” the instrumental releases in question – an admittedly small portion of the music library that looks to have been created by AI – appear to be racking up a substantial number of cumulative streams.

But as these unprecedented trends have been dominating AI headlines in the music space during recent weeks, artificial intelligence songs from prominent 20th century catalog acts (more specifically recreations of their sounds, of course) have been flying under the radar.

To be sure, The Beatles AI renditions of The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” (22,000 YouTube views at the time of writing) and Oasis’ “Some Might Say” (3,000 views), besides original efforts, are scoring views/plays at present. Fan feedback about the most popular of these Beatles AI uploads seemed especially positive, but the video was pulled down during this piece’s writing.

Nevertheless, other Beatles AI uploads are making waves, among them a retooled version of Paul McCartney’s “New” (2013) that features John Lennon artificial intelligence vocals. Furthermore, no shortage of AI McCartney covers – like The Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up,” Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” and Nirvana’s “All Apologies” – are currently live on YouTube.

Artificial intelligence has also powered a Freddie Mercury cover of “Yesterday,” a Michael Jackson spin on The Weeknd’s “Starboy” (203,000 views), and Kurt Cobain’s take on Radiohead’s “Creep,” to name just a few. And as the floodgates of AI music are still opening, it’ll be worth closely monitoring stakeholders’ responses to the situation (now with AI interviews) in the approaching weeks and months.

Longer term, it remains to be seen how the millions upon millions of views and streams at hand will affect the reception to human-created music from high-profile acts – including listener responses at the time of release and, with an abundance of free (potentially preferable) AI tracks little more than a click away, fan interest in subsequent weeks.