AI resurrects the Beatles : Paul McCartney announces AI-aided 'final record' featuring John Lennon.

The use of AI in music is the subject of debate in the industry, with some denouncing copyright abuses and others praising its prowess.

Bonn : '' It was a demo that John Lennon had, and that we worked on, and we just finished it up,'' former Beatle Paul McCartney, who turns 81 this week, told the BBC, referring to an upcoming record he said would be released this year.

McCartney did not name the unreleased song, but according to the BBC, it is likely to be a 1978 Lennon composition called Now and Then.

The Beatles - Lennon, McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr - split in 1970, with each going on to have solo careers.

They never reunited or produced other records as a group afterwards. Lennon was shot dead in New York in 1980 at the age of 40, while Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001, aged 58. Starr and McCartney are still active as solo artists.

Track recorded year before Lennon's death :

Lennon recorded various tracks for McCartney a year before his death. The demos were on a cassette given to him by Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, in 1994.

Two of the songs, Free as a Bird and Real Love, were cleaned up by musicians and Beatles producers Jeff Lynne, and released in 1995 and 1996. An attempt was also made to do the same with Now and Then but the project was abandoned  because of the background noise on the demo.

McCartney, who had previously mentioned that he wanted to finish the song, said AI had given him a new chance to do so.

He discovered the potential of the technology by working with filmmaker Peter Jackson on the 2021 documentary series : The Beatles : Get Back, in which AI was used to separate Lennon's voice and a piano.

'' They tell the machine, ' That's the voice. This is a guitar. Lose the guitar,'' McCartney explained.

'' So when we came to make what will be the last Beatles' record, it was a demo that John had [and] we were able to take John's voice and get it pure through this AI. Then we can mix the record, as you would normally do. So, it gives you some sort of a leeway.''

AI potentially harmful to musicians :

The use of AI in music has sparked both excitement and fear of what the technology could bring. Asked about it, McCartney said :

'' It's a very interesting thing ........... it's something we're all sort of tackling at the moment and trying to deal with,'' Reuters had quoted him saying.

''........There's a good side to it and then a scary side, and we'll just have to see where that leads,'' he added.

McCartney has experimented with AI before. Last year, he performed a two hour set at the Glastonbury festival in England, playing Beatles'  classics to a 100,000 strong crowd.

The set included a virtual duet with Lennon of the song I've Got a Feeling, from the Beatles' last album  Let It Be. 

Last month, British singer Sting warned that  ''defending our human capital against AI '' would be a major battle for musicians in the coming years.

And, indeed, the use of AI in music is the subject of debate in the industry, with some denouncing copyright abuses and others praising its prowess.

The music streaming app Deezer recently announced it will be launching a tool to detect and tag songs with AI-generated vocal clones in a bid to protect the revenues of the real artists.

Artificial Intelligence tools have recently allowed people to recreate the sound of famous artist vocals, from the Beatles to Oasis.

McCartney, however, embraces the use of new technologies.

The World Students Society thanks author News Desk, The Express Tribune.


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