Jun 13, 2023, 7:25am EDT

The Beatles to make one-song comeback via AI

The Beatles perform on television in Treslong, the Netherlands, June 5, 1964.
Dutch National Archives/Wikimedia Commons

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The News

Paul McCartney said he’s created one final Beatles song — featuring the late John Lennon — by employing artificial intelligence.

The singer-songwriter star told BBC’s Today radio program on Tuesday that he had used AI to “extricate” Lennon’s voice from a demo cassette the singer recorded shortly before he was killed in 1980.

The record will be released later this year.

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Know More

The song has not yet been named but the BBC reported that it was likely to be a 1978 composition called Now and Then, one of several tracks on a cassette labeled “For Paul” that Lennon created before his death.

McCartney told Today that while he worried about some of the applications of AI, it had allowed him to retrieve Lennon’s “pure” voice.

“It’s kind of scary but exciting, because it’s the future. We’ll just have to see where that leads,” he said of the technology.

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Step Back

McCartney’s use of AI comes as musicians grapple with people harnessing the technology to create deepfake versions of their work.

In April, an AI-generated song featuring Canadian pop stars The Weeknd and Drake was streamed hundreds of thousands of times before Universal Music Group, which represents the stars, ordered its take down.

And the technology to create music from prompts has hit the mainstream: Last week, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced that it had developed MusicGen, an AI tool trained on 20,000 hours of music. Earlier this year, Google released MusicLM, which generates tracks based on written user prompts.