jay-z shakespeare

Jay-Z Reciting Shakespeare? Audio Deepfakes are here

The 21st century has already brought massive advances in technology of all kinds with numerous benefits to society. Should we count deepfakes as one of those advances?  It’s now possible to take snippets of an artist’s voice, plug them into a database, and come out with your own song that the artist has no control over whatsoever. How so?

Two of the leading text-to-speech programs are LJ Speech and Tacotron 2, the latter of which was developed by Google. These programs take user uploaded audio snippets and create a synthetic ‘voice’ based on that audio. Once the voice is created, the user can type any sentence into the program and it will speak that sentence in the synthetic voice. Add some background beats and additional words and it’s easy to see how you could make your own song! But what happens when an amateur uses audio clips from a mainstream artist to build the synthetic voice? 

It just so happens that Jay-Z faced this exact issue with YouTube. In 2020, a user uploaded an audio deepfake of Jay-Z reciting Shakespeare’s “To be, or not to be,” monologue from Hamlet. YouTube initially took the video down and sent a DMCA claim, but the channel fought back. They argued that Jay-Z didn’t write or perform the monologue, the uploader/synthetic voice did and, therefore, Jay-Z had no claim to the rights. While you seem to be hearing Jay-Z’s voice, the audio is not owned by the rapper in any way. 

The US has laws prohibiting the spread of disinformation through deepfakes, but when it comes to music, there is a large gray area left undecided. Are these types of creations legal or not?

 Another uncertain aspect of this technology is the effect on advertising and sponsorship. If an advertiser can create the sound of a famous musician without needing to pay the big bucks for their direct sponsorship, what’s to stop them from doing that? For example, if someone were to recreate Travis Scott’s vocal sound and use it in a commercial endorsing some product, would it convince fans that the rapper is supporting the product and influence them to buy? In a typical sponsorship/endorsement situation you’d expect Scott to get a cut of the sales but since the text-to-speech system is what created the sound, he wouldn’t. 

What are your thoughts? Do the original artists used by the deepfake creators have rights in the work created by text-to-speech programs? Or is this an instance of freedom of speech and the original artists have no say? At least one thing is for sure: technology always outpaces regulation.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” hits 1 billion streams on Spotify

smells like teen spirit

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” hits 1 Billion Streams on Spotify

Just in time for it’s 30 year anniversary coming up this September, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” recently celebrated its milestone of surpassing 1,000,000,000 streams on Spotify. The news comes after Bassist Krist Novoselic teased that there could be a “potential reissue” of the album, but is keeping the details a secret for now. 

The music video on Youtube was able to reach the 1 billion milestone back in 2019, and today totals at over 1.2 billion views with nearly 9 million likes. Despite the video being published 17 years after its initial release in 1991, it sits comfortably within the 150 most viewed music videos of all time according to Popsonner.com

Smells Like Teen Spirit is currently the only song by Nirvana that has passed the ten-figure stream mark, but other tracks have passed the 100 million count; some even several times. The band has amassed over 18.6 million monthly listeners on the streaming network. Although not within the top 20 artists on the platform, we can assume they are one of the most streamed bands in the world.

Gigmor Pro New Releases: Jasmine Crowe “Love Is Love”

jasmine crowe

Gigmor Pro New Releases: Jasmine Crowe “Love is Love”

“Love is Love” by Jasmine Crowe is the perfect way to end your pride month this June. Filmed in Los Angeles, the music video highlights LGBTQ+ relationships with pure white clothing and hints of color–rainbow of course! We talked to Jasmine about Love is Love, how it came together and what it meant to her.

“‘Love is Love’ started as a poem I was writing one night about something personal I was going through and how love can be so many things…inspired by the realization that sometimes it can be such a gray area and there are so many dimensions to the feeling – in relation to yourself, with your partner, with your family, with self discovery and the changes you grow through in life…Love can be so simple and yet so complex with how you feel in your heart, but every aspect of it can still be so beautiful even when it feels like you’re going through something really dark and painful. Once you shine the light on how you’re truly feeling you can open up and it can be so freeing like you can suddenly see everything within yourself like the colors of a rainbow. People are not one dimensional and love is not black and white and that’s why the rainbow flag is such a powerful symbol that truly encompasses and represents inclusivity, diversity, authenticity, beauty and love within the LGBTQ community.

Writing this with one of my best friends Keith Weidner as our first time collaborating on a song together was such a joyful and cathartic experience and in the process of producing the record, being from Hawaii, ‘Love is Love’ brought up some inspiration and influences from my youth growing up there. One of our sayings in the islands is “Where I live there are rainbows” so having Brittni Paiva, an internationally renowned and award winning ukulele instrumentalist, one of my childhood friends from back home bringing her unique feeling into the track and experiences within the LGBTQ community into the video was a dream collaboration for this song.

It’s amazing how far we’ve come with representation in the media, with culture, and being fortunate enough to be able to celebrate equality today with pride has not been an easy journey throughout history. There’s still a lot of work to do and that’s why being vocal about it is so important. I’ve learned from the experiences of my amazing friends that sometimes it’s not safe in certain situations to come out to those around you and that’s ok. Make sure you’re safe first. Sometimes coming out to yourself can be the first step in the journey of finding out who you are and who you want to be, and you don’t have to have everything figured out right now. One day at a time. I want anyone who hears this song to know that being true to who you are is such a beautiful thing and even though sometimes it can be scary to show your true colors, there is a community out there that’s in support of you that loves and accepts you.”

Listen to “Love Is Love” by Jasmine Crowe on Spotify

With so many gifted artists in the Gigmor Pro community, we want to highlight some of your new releases, videos, artwork and collaborations. If you have a new release that you’d like us to feature, send an email to info@gigmor.com and we’ll be in touch!