Artificial Intelligence Enables Release of the Beatles’ “Last” Album

by Joshua Brown
AI technology

Paul McCartney revealed on Tuesday that artificial intelligence (AI) technology has played a crucial role in creating what is being touted as the final Beatles record. Decades after the band disbanded, McCartney, 80, shared with the BBC that AI was utilized to extract John Lennon’s voice from an old demo. The innovative process was employed during the production of director Peter Jackson’s documentary series, “The Beatles: Get Back,” released in 2021. The forthcoming song, reconstructed with Lennon’s vocals, is scheduled to be launched later this year.

According to McCartney’s interview with BBC radio, Jackson successfully separated the voices of the Beatles from the background sounds by using AI techniques. McCartney explained, “He could separate them with AI, he’d tell the machine ‘That’s a voice, this is a guitar, lose the guitar’.” The result allowed them to work on a demo that Lennon had, and through AI, they were able to isolate and refine Lennon’s voice, providing flexibility during the mixing process of what McCartney considers to be the last Beatles record.

While the demo’s specific name was not disclosed by McCartney, it is believed to be an unfinished love song from 1978 titled “Now and Then.” The demo was found on a cassette labeled “For Paul,” which McCartney received from Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono.

McCartney described AI technology as both unsettling and thrilling, acknowledging the vast possibilities it presents. He stated, “We will just have to see where that leads.” Notably, McCartney previously utilized AI technology to virtually “duet” with Lennon during last year’s Glastonbury Festival on the track “I’ve Got a Feeling.”

The application of AI in music production has garnered attention beyond the Beatles’ project. Holly Herndon, a multidisciplinary artist, integrated AI technology into her 2019 album “Proto” and developed Holly+, an online protocol that allows the public to submit tracks for reinterpretation and performance by an AI-generated replica of her voice. Herndon explained that the Beatles’ recording likely employed a technique known as “source separation,” which leverages machine learning to isolate vocals and integrate them with new instrumentation.

In the realm of AI and its impact on society, McCartney’s announcement adds to the growing list of advancements and possibilities. From generating sermons to critiquing art, AI continues to push boundaries. The CEO of OpenAI has even proposed the establishment of an international agency similar to the UN’s nuclear watchdog to oversee AI development and mitigate potential risks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about AI technology

Q: How was artificial intelligence used to create the last Beatles record?

A: Artificial intelligence was used to extract John Lennon’s voice from an old demo by separating it from background sounds. This technology was employed during the production of the documentary series “The Beatles: Get Back.”

Q: When will the “last” Beatles record be released?

A: The “last” Beatles record, featuring the reconstructed vocals of John Lennon, is set to be released later this year.

Q: What was the demo that John Lennon’s voice was extracted from?

A: The specific name of the demo was not mentioned, but it is believed to be an unfinished love song from 1978 called “Now and Then.” The demo was included on a cassette labeled “For Paul” that Paul McCartney received from Yoko Ono.

Q: How does AI technology separate vocals from background sounds?

A: In this case, director Peter Jackson instructed the AI machine to identify and isolate the vocals by distinguishing them from other sounds, such as guitars, in the recording.

Q: Has AI been used in other musical projects?

A: Yes, AI technology has been employed in various musical projects. One example is Holly Herndon’s album “Proto,” where nascent AI machine technology was used to reinterpret and perform tracks submitted by the public.

Q: What other applications does AI have in the music industry?

A: AI can be utilized for tasks such as music composition, generating virtual replicas of artists’ voices, and enhancing the production and mixing process. It offers new creative possibilities and avenues for experimentation in music-making.

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BeatlesFan92 June 14, 2023 - 9:23 am

omg AI helpin create last Beatles album? mind blowin! they took John’s voice frm old demo & now we get new song! cant wait! #Beatles #AI #music

TechGeek101 June 14, 2023 - 4:22 pm

AI in music production keeps pushin boundaries! It’s amazin how source separation & machine learning can revolutionize the way we create & enjoy music. The future is here! #AI #musicproduction

MusicLover123 June 14, 2023 - 6:52 pm

AI technology separatin voices frm music? That’s crazy cool! Excitin to see how this leads to more amazin musical innovations. #AI #musictech

FabFourForever June 14, 2023 - 7:24 pm

Paul McCartney’s exhibit & the news of the “last” Beatles record in one go? Excitement overload! Can’t wait to see the unseen photos & listen to the new song. #Beatles #PaulMcCartney #music #exhibition

JohnLennonFan June 14, 2023 - 11:45 pm

Wow, AI bringin John Lennon’s voice back to life? This is like a dream come true! Can’t wait to hear the “last” Beatles record. Thank you, technology! #JohnLennon #AI #TheBeatles


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