Months after making clear its interest in releasing high-profile artificial intelligence projects, Warner Music Group (WMG) has announced an AI-powered partnership with the estate of French artist Edith Piaf.
The Big Three label today detailed its seemingly far-reaching tie-up with the estate of Edith Piaf, who was born in Paris in 1915 and passed away in 1963. Known in particular for tracks including “La Vie en rose” and “Non, je ne regrette rien,” Piaf was at the height of her fame immensely popular in her home country and made commercial waves in nations including the U.S. as well.
Now, Warner Music and Piaf’s estate are looking to build upon the singer’s 20th century prominence 60 years after her death. In pursuit of the objective, WMG says it’s created an “innovative and groundbreaking AI technology which will recreate” Piaf’s “voice and image.”
This AI was “trained on hundreds of voice clips and images,” according to Warner Music, which, with support from Paris-based production company Seriously Happy, intends to utilize the digital re-creation of Piaf to make an “animated biopic” entitled EDITH.
Spanning 90 minutes, EDITH will explore how Piaf “overcame struggles to become a symbol of female empowerment and one of France’s most iconic artists,” per WMG’s description.
While the company didn’t disclose a release window or adjacent plans for accompanying music projects, it did note that “a proof of concept has been created” and that Seriously Happy’s co-CEOs have written the Edith Piaf movie script.
Warner Music Entertainment, WMG also indicated, is preparing to partner “with a studio to develop the full-length film,” which is expected to complement its animation with archival footage. In a statement, Warner Music France head Alain Veille acknowledged the “delicate balancing act” of “combining new technology with heritage artists.”
“Edith is one of France’s greatest ever artists and she is still a source of so much pride to the French people,” the over 22-year Warner Music exec Veille said in part. “It is such a delicate balancing act when combining new technology with heritage artists, and it was imperative to us that we worked closely with Edith’s estate and handled this project with the utmost respect.”
In October of 2022, BTS agency Hybe purchased a majority interest in AI voice company Supertone, having previously invested in the business in February of 2021. Well before soundalike tracks began arriving on the scene in droves, Supertone effectively mimicked the voice of popular South Korean singer Kim Kwang Seok, who passed away in 1996.
Of course, AI works – from authorized projects like EDITH and The Beatles’ “Now and Then” to unauthorized releases like “Heart on My Sleeve” – have become far more prevalent in the interim and will presumably continue growing in number throughout 2024. Against this backdrop, YouTube is reportedly taking steps to crack down on generative AI media.