A Viral AI-Generated Drake Song by ‘Ghostwriter’ Has Millions of Listens

"Heart on My Sleeve" is taking off on TikTok and Spotify. Is it a watershed for AI-generated music, a PR stunt, or something else?
A Viral ‘AI-Generated’ Drake Song by ‘Ghostwriter’ Has Millions of Listens
Screengrabs: TikTok/@Ghostwriter977

A new Drake song featuring The Weeknd is blowing up on TikTok and Spotify and racking up millions of listens. That wouldn’t be surprising, except “Heart on My Sleeve” was released by a faceless producer wearing a white sheet who says that it was generated by AI. 

The song first appeared in a TikTok posted over the weekend by a producer going by “Ghostwriter” that currently has over 9 million views. The video’s text says “I used AI to make a drake song ft. the weeknd” and Ghostwriter hangs out in a white sheet and sunglasses as “Heart on My Sleeve” plays. The producer has since posted several more TikToks boosting the song and even seemingly courting a legal battle. “POV: vibing to this GHOSTWR!TER & Drake before the lawsuit,” one video states. Following a link to download the song takes the user to a platform called Laylo that asks for their phone number. 


Ghostwriter claims that they were “a ghostwriter for years and got paid close to nothing just for major labels to profit,” they wrote in one comment. A spokesperson for Laylo told Motherboard that “Ghostwriter did not partner with Laylo, this was completely unexpected—Laylo is a service that any artist or creator can use to connect with fans to notify them of upcoming drops.”

So far, people are into the song. People have posted more than a thousand TikToks using the audio, mostly commenting on how good it sounds or joking about a lawsuit. There are a lot of unknowns, however, including whether the song is really AI-generated. 

What’s notable is that we can’t really tell. The vocals on “Heart on My Sleeve” really do sound like Drake and The Weeknd. Without more information, it could be exactly what its apparent creator says it is: The first true AI-generated hit. It could also be a real song by the Canadian superstars, released as “AI” as a marketing stunt. 

In a statement to Motherboard, Universal Music Group (UMG) appeared to confirm that the track really is an unsanctioned AI-generated riff and expressed displeasure with Ghostwriter’s work.

“UMG’s success has been, in part, due to embracing new technology and putting it to work for our artists—as we have been doing with our own innovation around AI for some time already.  With that said, however, the training of generative AI using our artists’ music (which represents both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law) as well as the availability of infringing content created with generative AI on DSPs, begs the question as to which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation,” the statement said. “These instances demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists.  We’re encouraged by the engagement of our platform partners on these issues—as they recognize they need to be part of the solution.”


While they haven’t shared details on how the song was made, Ghostwriter claimed that they wrote and produced the song and then replaced their vocals with Drake and The Weeknd’s. It sounds plausible; AI vocal-switching tech is getting better all the time, and a recent viral remix that used AI to generate a version of Ice Spice’s hit “Munch” with Drake’s vocals caught the rapper’s attention. “This the final straw AI,” Drake wrote in an Instagram post about the song. The vocals in “Heart on My Sleeve” sound much more realistic than in the “Munch” AI cover.

Even though the song has gained over 250,000 plays on Spotify alone, it hasn’t been taken down.

In a recent incident similar to “Heart on My Sleeve,” UMG took down YouTube videos featuring AI-generated vocals by Eminem rapping about cats for infringing their copyright. The label has also sent letters to streaming services including Apple Music and Spotify to stop people from scraping their music in order to generate AI-generated copies. “We will not hesitate to take steps to protect our rights and those of our artists,” UMG said in one letter, FT reported.

Update: This article was updated with comment from Laylo and UMG.