Paul McCartney Offers Clarification on Upcoming AI-Assisted Beatles Recording
Sir Paul McCartney has given clarification on an upcoming AI-assisted Beatles song that he said would be The Beatles' final tune after artificial intelligence helped audio engineers "extricate" the voice of his late Beatles bandmate John Lennon from an old demo recording.
And while some may have misunderstood what McCartney meant in an interview about it earlier this month, it was the Beatles rocker himself who mentioned it was made possible by AI.
But in a Thursday (June 22) update, per Deadline, McCartney writes, "Been great to see such an exciting response to our forthcoming Beatles project. No one is more excited than us to be sharing something with you later in the year."
However, "We've seen some confusion and speculation about it," he says. "Seems to be a lot of guess work out there. Can't say too much at this stage but to be clear, nothing has been artificially or synthetically created. It's all real and we all play on it."
Macca adds, "We cleaned up some existing recordings — a process which has gone on for years. We hope you love it as much as we do."
AI Beatles Song Update - June 22, 2023
The June 13 Radio 4 Today interview with McCartney that led to the confusion saw the 80-year-old music legend calling the AI-assisted track "the final Beatles record." He explained on-air that AI technology was employed to extract Lennon's voice from the old demo recording to complete the tune, according to a subsequent report by the BBC.
"We just finished it up," McCartney said, "and it'll be released this year."
While it's currently unclear exactly what song it will be, several sources have reported the rumor that it might be a re-worked version of Lennon's "Now and Then," also referred to as "I Don't Want to Lose You" or "Miss You." The track was an unfinished 1978 piano-and-vocal demo which was recorded before Lennon died in 1980.
The AI Beatles
The Beatles have used Lennon's voice from his old demos to make new Beatle recordings before, as some longtime listeners might remember.
In 1995, as part of The Beatles Anthology, the surviving Beatles (including George Harrison, who died in 2001) incorporated Lennon's demos to make "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love." Both emerged as singles from the Anthology in 1995 and 1996.
The Beatles, "Free as a Bird" (1995)
Artificial Intelligence in Music
With the rise of AI and its related applications such as ChatGPT, AI is finding a foothold in music. After an AI-created unofficial Oasis album recently emerged, former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher said AI would be the final nail in the coffin of music.
Perhaps the most notable instance so far of AI capturing a listener base happened in April when an unauthorized AI-voiced song replicating Drake and The Weeknd went viral. It was subsequently removed from streaming services.