Not a gimmick, has to serve a purpose: AR Rahman on using AI in music

Wednesday 07th February 2024 06:19 EST

Music maestro AR Rahman recently recreated the voices of late singers Bamba Bakya and Shah Hameed for a new track using artificial intelligence software. Happy with the controversial technology, he said it allowed him to bring back the voices of his friends and past collaborators of many songs. He said that the use of technology cannot be “gimmicky” and should be done with proper permissions.

Rahman said in an interview, “(You should do it) Only when you really need it and only when you can do it. It should be half-baked. It is not a gimmick, it’s an effect and has to serve the purpose.” Bakya and Hameed are credited as playback singers for the track ‘Thimiri Yezhuda’ in ‘Lal Salaam,’ directed by Rajinikanth’s daughter Aishwarya Rajinikanth. The film is scheduled to be released in theatres on February 9.

The Academy Award-winning musician said when he and his team decided to use AI, they knew it was important to have the consent of the singers’ families. Rahman said, “We went to the families, asked permission, and they were overwhelmed and the compensation was given. These are all personality assets which they’ve given to the family. It’s their right to say yes or no. In this case, they said yes and we used it. There’s nothing objectionable for me because we took the legit permission.”
The 57-year-old is aware of the debate surrounding artificial intelligence, with the common fear being that it may lead to job losses in different industries. He cautioned that people in leadership positions should be careful about the ethical use of technology.

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