Scammer Made Thousands Selling 'Leaked' Frank Ocean Tracks That Were Fake, AI-Generated

Frank Ocean communities on Discord and leaked music forums were in a frenzy over newly discovered music from the reclusive artist. It turns out most of it was AI-generated and sold by a scammer.
Frank Ocean
Image: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

A scammer has managed to sell multiple leaked Frank Ocean tracks for thousands of dollars, but the tracks weren’t recorded by the famous R&B singer-songwriter. The tracks were made with AI and sold as leaked tracks on a bustling community of underground music collectors, according to Discord messages and forum posts reviewed by Motherboard, as well as interviews with victims and the scammer themselves. 


The news shows another example of the seismic impact AI is having on the music industry. In this case a scammer is preying on fans and music collectors who are desperate for new and unreleased music from one of the industry's biggest, most reclusive stars. On underground forums, music collectors often privately buy tracks they believe to have leaked from their favorite artists, or participate in “group buys” on Discord to crowdsource the necessary funds. Some members of a music leaking forum are already lamenting that AI will destroy aspects of their community. 

“We determined just about everything he has is fake,” Gamma, the owner of a Discord server focused on collecting rare Frank Ocean recordings, wrote in a server-wide announcement earlier this month. 

Do you know anything else about the leaked music community? We'd love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, or email

As Motherboard has previously reported, AI-generated music that can copy the voices and style of anyone, including massive stars, isn't just a threat to artists and record labels. The technology has gotten increasingly convincing in just the last few weeks, to the point where it can be difficult for even obsessive fans to tell the difference between a real track and an AI-generated one. In the case of Frank Ocean, the scammer told Motherboard that at least one of the tracks is real and that they leaked this initially as a way to build their credibility to then sell their AI fakes successfully; there is essentially no way, outside of verification from Frank Ocean himself, to verify this claim.


The Frank Ocean scammer goes by the handle mourningassasin. They told Motherboard they hired a musician to create around nine fake Frank Ocean tracks using a model made with “very high quality vocal snippets” of Frank Ocean’s voice. In early April, mourningassasin posted a short snippet of one of these fake Frank Ocean tracks to a leaked music forum, according to the forum thread Motherboard reviewed.

“Instantly, I noticed everyone started to believe it,” mourningassasin told Motherboard in an online chat. 

Mourningassasin claims multiple people contacted them about the clip, including two buyers who wanted to collect Frank Ocean music and “pay big money for it.” Mourningassasin told the buyers they had more music to sell too. The scammer told Motherboard they made around $13,000 (CAD) from selling the fake, unreleased music. 

Gamma, the owner of the Frank Ocean fan Discord, said mourningassasin offered them a number of songs in mid to late April for $3,000—$4,000 each. “A high price but not unheard of for Frank Ocean,” Gamma told Motherboard. 

Frank Ocean fans have been desperate for new music from the reclusive singer, who hasn't released a full album since 2016's Blonde. Frank Ocean played a controversial set at the first weekend of Coachella last month in California, his first concert in nearly six years. The festival's livestream of the set was called off at the last minute, Ocean went on roughly an hour late, and the set was cut short due to the festival's curfew. But during his set, Frank Ocean said “I wanna talk about why we’re here because it’s not about the new album… not that there’s not a new album.” This statement set the internet abuzz, as fans have been looking for cryptic clues that would confirm new music is eventually coming. His appearance at the second weekend of the festival was cancelled, apparently due to injury. All of this adds to the fervor around any potential new Frank Ocean music, which the scammer was able to exploit.


In one forum post mourningassasin posted a link to Gamma’s Frank Ocean fan Discord, encouraging people to join a group buy. Mourningassasin also publicly leaked another track called “The Line" which they told Motherboard was AI-generated. (When Motherboard tried to upload “The Line” to Soundcloud, the music streaming service repeatedly removed the track, saying it had triggered the company's copyright protections. Soundcloud also removed other tracks that were more clearly AI-generated.)

Soon, Discord members had confirmed mourningassasin’s tracks were AI generated.

“I know it’s been a rocky few days but please stick with us, I know you guys want new frank and so do we,” a second administrator of the Frank Ocean fan Discord server wrote in an announcement.

Mourningassasin said he admitted the tracks were AI-generated to administrators. The music leaking forum has since banned mourningassasin. Regarding their own Discord, Gamma said “This situation has put a major dent in our server's credibility, and will result in distrust from any new and unverified seller throughout these communities.” 

A representative for Frank Ocean did not respond to a request for comment.

In April, an allegedly AI generated song went viral on TikTok. The track’s producer “Ghostwriter” said in a TikTok that they used AI to make a Drake song featuring The Weeknd. At the time it gathered more than 9 million views. The TikTok is no longer available.


In a statement to Motherboard shortly after the Ghostwriter TikTok went viral, Universal Music Group said “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.”

An entire fake, AI-generated Travis Scott album called UTOP-AI dropped soon after; the quality was shockingly good.

Some artists have more explicitly embraced AI. In April Grimes invited fans to make their own songs with an AI-generated version of her voice, even adding that she would split 50% royalties on any successful AI generated song using the likeness, NPR reported. This month Grimes released a tool which lets people upload their own voices and then ‘Grimes-ify’ them, Gizmodo reported.

Spotify recently ejected thousands of AI-generated songs from its platform, the Financial Times reported.

One person on the leaked music forum summed up the situation after users started to suspect the alleged Frank Ocean tracks were actually generated by AI: “We now live in a world where nobody knows if a song is made by the artist or by a robot.”

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