Billy Strings Addresses AI T-Shirt Controversy: “We Got Ripped Off”

Billy Strings and his band rang in the New Year with a series of shows in New Orleans. To commemorate the event, he commissioned an artist to create a line of commemorative merch. The offering featured three shirts, a couple of stickers, and a koozie. Unfortunately, many of his fans thought the designs appeared to be AI-generated.

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Strings posted the New Year’s Eve merch ahead of the shows. Before long, many fans showed up in the comments to call out the origins of the designs. A majority of commenters claimed that they could tell the designs are AI-generated. Others fired shots at Strings and the band for allegedly not working with a real artist.

[Billy Strings Live: Get Tickets]

“You’re an artist and you’re supporting theft of assets from artists. Make it make sense,” one commenter said. “Seriously embarrassing. Who’s checking this sh-t? OR do we not care as long as it brings in cash,” another asked.

[RELATED: Watch Billy Strings Debut Three Songs During His New Year’s Eve Show in New Orleans]

Billy Strings Addresses AI Accusations

Last week, Strings posted a video discussing the controversy. “I’m pretty hands-on with the art. I try to approve everything, but with everything going on and all the shows and stuff, I mean there is times where I just maybe have been a little complacent,” he explained. “This is a big lesson that I’m learning,” he added. “I saw these designs come through and I was kind of just like, ‘Yeah, sure, why not? You know, it’s New Year’s Eve, it’s like one event, so sure, it seemed like cool enough designs to me.”

Strings went on to say that the fact that a fan designed the merch made things worse. “We have fans that make really cool art and they submit it a lot of times we haven’t really used very much of it, but I’ve always wanted to because they make some really cool sh-t,” he said.

After seeing the allegations on the post, Strings reached out to his manager to get to the bottom of the designs. The artist claimed to have created the designs from line drawings and sketches. When Strings’ team spoke to the artist, he claimed to be away from home and would send proof as soon as he could.

However, Strings posted the video on January 5 and, at that time, they had not received the proof. Addressing his fans, he said, “So I just want you all to know that if these t-shirts are AI, then I’m going to have to kick this dude in the pecker. And we were ripped off.”

Strings promised to share an update when the artist sent the files that would clear his name. At the time of writing, he hasn’t shared an update.

Featured Image by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

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