Paul McCartney clarifies AI usage on new Beatle recording

Thursday, June 22, 2023

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On June 13, 2023, during the promotional campaign for his photography book “1964: Eyes Of The Storm” and the related photo exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Paul McCartney participated in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, hosted by Martha Kearney. In the conversation, she inquired about advancements in Artificial Intelligence, to which McCartney revealed breaking news that a new Beatles song would be released before the year’s end, utilizing this very technology. He referenced Peter Jackson’s use of AI in the “The Beatles: Get Back” TV series released in 2021. The speculated song to be released is “Now And Then,” a demo originally recorded by John Lennon that the Beatles had contemplated including in the Anthology project of 1995, but ultimately decided against.

Martha Kearney: What do you think about efforts that are being made through technology, through artificial intelligence, to recreate the early Beatles, making your voice sound younger [and] bringing those voices back from the grave?

Paul McCartney: Well, it’s a very interesting thing, you know. It’s something we’re all sort of tackling at the moment and trying to deal with. What does it mean, you know? I don’t hear that much because I’m not on the internet that much. But people say to me, “Oh, yeah, there’s a track where John’s singing one of my songs.” And it isn’t, it’s just AI, you know. So all of that is kind of scary, but exciting because it’s the future.

We were able to use that kind of thing when Peter Jackson did the film Get Back where it was us making the Let It Be album, and he was able to extricate John’s voice from a ropey little bit of cassette where it had John’s voice and a piano. He can separate them with AI. They tell the machine “That’s the voice. This is a guitar. Lose the guitar.” And he did that, so it has great uses.

So when we came to make what will be the last Beatles record — it was a demo that John had, that we worked on and we just finished it up and it’ll be released this year — we were able to take John’s voice and get it pure through this AI, so that then we could mix the record as you would normally do. So it gives you some sort of leeway. So there’s a good side to it and then a scary side, and we’ll just have to see where that leads.

On June 22, he felt the need to reach out via social networks and reexplain that AI had not been used to create new music or any new vocal parts.

Been great to see such an exciting response to our forthcoming Beatles project. No one is more excited than us to be sharing something with you later in the year. We’ve seen some confusion and speculation about it. Seems to be a lot of guess work out there. Can’t say too much at this stage but to be clear, nothing has been artificially or synthetically created. It’s all real and we all play on it. We cleaned up some existing recordings – a process which has gone on for years. We hope you love it as much as we do. More news in due course – Paul

Paul McCartney – From Twitter, June 22, 2023

From Instagram – June 22, 2023

Last updated on October 29, 2023


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