Last month, approximately nine songs purported to be unreleased Frank Ocean cuts circulated among his fan communities, mainly on Discord, selling for thousands of dollars, collectively. But a new report by Motherboard’s Joseph Cox reveals that the songs were created using AI tools.
Cox interviewed the scammer, who goes by mourningassasin, and told him they hired a musician to create the fake leaks using a generative model trained on “very high-quality vocal snippets.” When he posted a snippet of one of these tracks to a leaked music forum, the feedback was overwhelming. Mourningassasin told Motherboard they were contacted about the clip by multiple interested parties shortly thereafter, including two buyers who offered to “pay big money” for the collection. In total, mourningassasin claims they made about 13,000 Canadian dollars (roughly 9,600 USD) from selling the automated tunes.
As Cox notes in his piece, AI-generated has massive implications for fans as well as music industry workers:
“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,” he writes. “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 leaks of real and fake material included one song featuring Rosalía that came with a music video.)