Sheryl Crow Speaks Out: AI Has No Place in Music

In a recent interview with the BBC, Sheryl Crow, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, expressed her concerns about artificial intelligence in the music industry. She specifically criticized Drake for using AI-generated vocals of the late Tupac Shakur in his song “Taylor Made Freestyle.”

The Controversy

Drake’s song, which also features an AI verse from Snoop Dogg, is a diss track aimed at Kendrick Lamar. Crow was particularly upset about the use of Tupac’s voice, saying, “You cannot bring people back from the dead and believe that they would stand for that.” The song was uploaded to social media on April 19, and Tupac’s estate quickly responded with a cease-and-desist letter, demanding its removal. Drake took down the song on April 26, but Crow believes the damage was already done.

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Crow’s Concerns

Crow voiced her frustration, suggesting that Drake probably knew it was wrong but thought he could apologize later. She said, “It’s hateful. It is antithetical to the life force that exists in all of us.” Crow believes that removing the song doesn’t address the larger issue of using AI in music.

A Personal Experience

Crow shared a personal story about how a young songwriter friend used AI to insert John Mayer’s vocals into a demo to make it more appealing. This experience left her feeling “terrified” and “literally hyperventilating” because the fake vocals were so convincing. She called AI in music a “slippery slope” and “a betrayal” that goes against the essence of humanity.

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Legal and Ethical Issues

Drake’s “Taylor Made Freestyle” portrayed Tupac as an ally to Lamar, which did not sit well with Tupac’s estate. A letter from lawyer Howard King to Drake called the song a “blatant abuse of the legacy of one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time” and a “flagrant violation of Tupac’s publicity and the estate’s legal rights.” King emphasized that the estate would never have approved the use of Tupac’s vocals.

Conclusion

Sheryl Crow’s strong stance against AI in music highlights a growing concern within the industry. The ethical and legal implications of using AI-generated voices, especially of deceased artists, remain a contentious issue. Crow’s message is clear: AI has no place in music, and respect for artists and their legacies should always come first.

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