Meet Your New AI-Powered Vocalist “Holly+”

Holly Herndon is a 41-year old Sound Artist based in Berlin, Germany. She is partnering with music company Never Before Heard Sounds to produce a “digital twin” of her own voice, titled Holly+, that creators across the world can manipulate to create their own custom vocal parts and instruments. Similarly to our previously reported Jay-Z deepfake story, Holly has entered a multitude of different sounds in the Holly+ digital library for others to use to create their own custom works.

Holly+ uses “Machine learning technology to reproduce audio in a computer generated approximation of Holly Herndon’s natural singing voice.” Users can upload up to 5 minutes of polyphonic audio into Holly+ and that audio will then be recreated with Holly’s distinctive digital voice. Holly+ is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) in which all users will get to own the IP for their creation, but all funds earned will be directed back into the organization to further the development of the service and will be shared amongst all artists on the site. 

Holly claims that “Vocal deepfakes are here to stay.” To learn more and make your own creation using Holly’s voice, check out holly.plus.


Epidemiologist Answers: How Dangerous Are Concerts?

It’s now been about a month since the Lollapalooza music festival took place in Chicago. Was it the super spreader event that the city feared? Among 385,000 attendees, 203 people are reported to have contracted Covid-19 which represents less than 1% of those in attendance. Are concerts safe again?

In a new Billboard article, journalist Steve Knopper sat down with infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh A. Adalja about the risk of attending a concert or other live event while we are experiencing a surge of new Covid-19 infections. 

Wearing masks and being vaccinated is a good start in the transition for live events reappearing. According to Dr. Adalja, the more vaccinated the crowd, the safer the event is. This statement pairs well with AEG’s recent striking update that the live entertainment company is requiring vaccinations, not only negative tests or wearing masks at it’s events. 

Attending an outdoors festival is much safer than being in a crowded indoor environment, but the risk of contracting Covid-19 remains. The severity of infections vary, even among the vaccinated, with some requiring hospitalization. Preventing as many cases as possible through vaccinations and masking up will keep our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

If you wish to attend concerts in the upcoming future, secure the safety of both yourself and your community by getting vaccinated. For more information and to schedule an appointment near you, visit www.vaccines.gov.

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20% of Music Venues Received No Federal Assistance During Quarantine

A new report from Billboard states that 20% of independent music venues received no federal assistance to keep their properties afloat during the height of the pandemic. There was a total of $8 billion distributed to just over 10,400 venues. The rest were denied without explanation.

The United States Small Business Administration received 15,429 applications for the Federal Shuttered Venue Operations grant. The grant was established after the creation of the #SaveOurStages movement which aimed to attract the government’s attention to the peril that these businesses were facing. The movement gained popularity after statistics were released in late October that 90% of independent music venues across the country were at risk of closing permanently, with an estimated 300 already shuttered before the end of 2020.

The Federal Shuttered Venue Operations grant was allocated $16 Billion to distribute to independent venues. Many venues were rejected without explanation or actionable recourse. When a venue received notice that they were rejected for funding, papers showed a generic “Eligibility matrix,” including “Common reasons an entity is found ineligible [for the grant].” As of now, the United States Small Business Administration has declined further comment.