On the Beatles’ New Album, John Lennon’s Voice Will be Replaced by Artificial Intelligence

The Beatles' new album will be released by the end of this year – and that's not the only unexpected and shocking news about it; namely, John Lennon's voice will be replaced by – you guessed it – artificial intelligence.

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Illustration: Lenka Tomašević

During a guest appearance on BBC Radio 4, one of the Beatles’ members, Paul McCartney, announced that the band plans to release a new album by the end of the current year. Since their last album was released back in 1970, this is really big news for fans around the world. 

However, what shocked them even more (and caused a debate) was McCartney’s announcement that the voice of the famous John Lennon would be replaced by artificial intelligence. 

How can AI replace John Lennon?   

In one of our earlier articles, we’ve written about the process of generating AI music or “replacing” vocals using someone’s recognizable voice. 

In the case of Oasis, AI was trained with a capella recordings of Noel Gallagher, and the final result really sounds like he sang them in the first place. Although he authorized the use of his voice in this way, this was not the case with other musicians, so there are a handful of songs on the Internet that were created this way and directly violate copyright and related rights. 

The new Beatles album will undergo a similar process. 

Shortly before his death in 1980, Lennon recorded demo versions of previously unreleased songs, which were then used for AI training to allow them to be refined and finalized. 

According to McCartney, one of the two living Beatles, this will be their final album, although he did not reveal any other details about the music. 

According to him, this technology provides new possibilities for musical creation that we have only dreamed of until now. All previous attempts to save and use these demos were unsuccessful due to poor sound quality, but AI helped them extract and refine the vocals, which they could then insert into the mix as if it had just been recorded. 

“I’m concerned about how AI will continue to be used going forward, since it can perform trickery and replace one person’s voice with another voice. It’s all a bit scary, but it’s also exciting, because it’s the future,” McCartney concluded in an interview with BBC Radio 4. 

A journalist by day and a podcaster by night. She's not writing to impress but to be understood.