And the Grammy for Best Collaboration, Best Song and most downloads ever! goes to…. Drake and The Weeknd for their chart-topping song of the summer “Heart on My Sleeve.”
Except this song and collab isn’t actually real. An anonymous producer that goes by the handle @ghostwriter977 released the track over the weekend on TikTok. The song is AI generated and renders Drake’s voice going back and forth with The Weeknd singing about Selena Gomez, the Weeknd’s ex.
The TikTok video has surpassed 10 million views. If you missed this song sensation you are out of luck since TikTok, Spotify and Apple, at the request of Universal Music Group who represent both the real Drake and the Weeknd, have removed it. But not YouTube.
“Heart on My Sleeve” joins a slew of other AI generated tracks that in the past have featured musicians Rihanna and Eminem. In one TikTok comment, Ghostwriter claims that they were “a ghostwriter for years and got paid close to nothing just for major labels to profit.” Adding to the nightmare for the music labels and the real artists, TikTok users are embedding the track into thousands of videos.
Fighting for attention is a national social media pastime so the big question to ask; is “Heart on My Sleeve” really the first AI generated hit or is this a big “got ya” marketing hoax and actually a true superstar collaboration? The scariest part of this story is that we can’t really tell. The vocals on “Heart on My Sleeve” certainly sound like Drake and The Weeknd.
And just like that, a technology that has the potential for moving humankind forward shows how convincing it is in generating fake news, fake music, fake information. In the age of AI, if you thought it was hard to decipher what to believe in the past, you ain’t seen nothing yet.