Feb 16, 2024 - Business

Beyoncé's new songs went viral. So did their AI covers.

Beyonce in concert

Beyoncé performs onstage in July 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood

Forget Travis and Taylor at the Super Bowl. Even AI covers of Beyoncé's country music singles released Sunday are going viral.

The intrigue: Covers of "Texas Hold 'Em" and "16 Carriages" were made to sound like singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus performed them, and they amassed a collective 1.2 million views, per a Miley Cyrus fansite's post on X.

The big picture: The increased sophistication of generative AI poses an array of legal questions across industries, including when it comes to copyright and intellectual property.

  • Existing rules can be insufficient when it comes to tackling the challenges presented by AI.
  • Yet the music industry is keenly aware of the problem, and its leaders are determined not to face a repeat of mistakes they believe they made 20 years ago when Napster popularized digital music-sharing.

Catch up fast: In late November, a Sony Music Entertainment executive testified before Congress that the company has issued nearly 10,000 takedown requests to various platforms hosting unauthorized deepfakes of their artists.

Our thought bubble, from Axios' Ina Fried: The technology for this is only getting better, meaning the music industry is going to either find a way to work with AI or rely on trying to stop it in court.

State of play: Beyoncé dropped the original singles to tease the release of her full-length country album, "Act II," next month.

  • The new music revived a debate about diversity and inclusion in country music — which is dominated by white artists on airwaves — after an Oklahoma country music station initially refused to give the songs airtime.
  • The songs still racked up millions of views across various platforms and even briefly crashed music streaming service Tidal's servers.

Of note: It's not immediately clear who created the AI covers.

Go deeper: New music trend: Mainstream artists could pursue country crossovers in 2024

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