An AI-generated song featuring the simulated vocals of Drake and The Weeknd that went viral over the weekend was yanked from streaming services after Universal Music Group labeled the tune “infringing content created with generative AI.”
The song, “Heart on My Sleeve,” racked up 15 million views on TikTok, 275,000 views on YouTube and over 600,000 streams on Spotify after being posted Friday.
However, Universal on Monday demanded the sites pull the song because its creation “represents both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law,” according to the BBC.
A link to the song on YouTube now says: “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Universal Music Group.”
“These instances demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists,” a UMG spokersperson told The Post on Tuesday.
The song was reportedly created as a publicity stunt by a startup tech firm and posted on TikTok by a user with the handle @ghostwriter before being picked up by other streamers.
The creator claimed the track — which simulates Drake and The Weeknd trading verses about pop star and actress Selena Gomez — was made with AI software that samples the musicians’ voices.
The Weeknd and Gomez split up last year after dating for about 10 months.
At Spotify’s lowest royalty rate of $0.003 per stream, the 629,439 times “Heart on My Sleeve” was streamed generated nearly $1,900, the BBC reported.
The music label — which reps Drake and The Weeknd, as well as artists like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Billie Eilish — said the viral postings “demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists.”
The UMG rep told The Post the episode “begs the question as to which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation.”
“We’re encouraged by the engagement of our platform partners on these issues – as they recognize they need to be part of the solution,” the spokesperson added.
Last week, Drake found himself in another AI-snafu when he appeared to criticize an AI-generated version of his voice that was included in a song by New York rapper Ice Spice, writing on Instagram, “This is the final straw AI.”
A number of users speculated about who might have created the artificial music, including AppSumo’s Mitchell Cohen.
On Twitter, Cohen called the AI track “a genius marketing stunt,” adding, “Not by Drake, but by a SaaS (software as a service) startup.”
Cohen traced the origins of the track to a TikTok account with the handle @ghostwriter977, tweeting: “This song by Drake and The Weeknd is generated by AI. It’s such a banger, people think it’s maybe a marketing move by Drake. Except, the creator Ghostwriter977 on TikTok (and imaghostwriter on YouTube) keeps mentioning the link in the bio.”
The accounts were linked to a startup firm called Laylo, which retweeted Cohen’s initial tweet about the song going “viral.”
The Financial Times recently reported that UMG, which controls roughly one-third of the global music market, told streaming services like Spotify and Apple to “block” companies from using the label’s songs to train their artificial intelligence technology.
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