New Beatles Song to Be Released With a Little Help From AI

The legendary British rock band, The Beatles, continues to captivate music enthusiasts even after several decades. In an exciting development, a new and final Beatles track is currently being created with the assistance of artificial intelligence (AI). Former band member Paul McCartney revealed this remarkable collaboration, disclosing that the track is expected to be released later this year. This groundbreaking endeavor involves utilizing a preliminary recording of John Lennon’s “Now and Then” from 1978 as the foundation.

The origin of this unique recording can be traced back to Lennon himself, who captured it on an old cassette tape in his New York City apartment before his untimely demise. Following Lennon’s passing, his wife, Yoko Ono, presented the tape, along with other demos, labeled “For Paul,” to McCartney. Out of the collection, two recordings, namely “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love,” were completed and released in the mid-90s. However, the third Beatles track remained incomplete due to audio issues, including background noise.

McCartney told Q Magazine that the track, stating that although it lacked a compelling title and required some reworking, it featured a beautiful verse with John Lennon’s soulful vocals. However, fellow band member George Harrison did not share the same enthusiasm for the song, resulting in the project being put on hold. As the Beatles always operated as a democracy, they respected Harrison’s opinion and decided not to pursue the track at that time.

With advancements in AI technology, the unimaginable has become possible. The voice of John Lennon can now be extracted from the original tapes and revitalized through the implementation of AI techniques. McCartney recently shared in an interview with BBC4 on June 13th that the team has successfully completed the project and confirmed that the new Beatles track will be released this year. This achievement was made possible with the expertise of Peter Jackson, the renowned director behind the 2021 documentary series “Get Back.” Jackson skillfully extracted John’s voice from the modest cassette recording, enabling the isolation of individual elements such as Lennon’s vocals and the accompanying piano.

By leveraging AI, the team behind the project was able to instruct the technology to separate and isolate specific elements of the demo recording. Through the guidance of McCartney and others, the AI system was trained to identify and differentiate between the voice and the other instrumental parts. Consequently, the pure essence of John Lennon’s voice was preserved and enhanced, providing the necessary foundation for completing the last Beatles record. Once the voice extraction process was accomplished, the track could be mixed in a manner consistent with standard production methods, allowing for creative adjustments and refinements.

While the application of AI in this context may be both exciting and somewhat daunting, McCartney expressed his sentiments, acknowledging that working with AI can be a blend of fear and excitement. He recognizes that this innovative collaboration represents a glimpse into the future of music production and the potential it holds.

Photo: JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images

AI’s Role in Society?

The involvement of AI in the creative process, such as the development of the final Beatles track, prompts a broader discussion about AI’s role in society. The recent emergence of ChatGPT, a widely accessible AI-powered tool capable of engaging in various conversations, has ignited inquiries regarding the impact of AI on employment, the reliability of information provided by AI chatbots, and existential questions about the potential superiority or singularity of AI.

Debates similar to these have occurred in the past when significant scientific achievements were made. For instance, in 1996, the successful cloning of a female sheep named Dolly raised concerns about the possibility.

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