Timbaland Reveals Plan to Commercialize AI for Producers to Use Voices of Any Artist

In early May, Timbaland announced that he had a plan to resolve the artificial intelligence voice-mimicking fiasco. Although he did not reveal his plan at the time, he did unleash a song he produced that included a verse from an A.I.-generated Notorious B.I.G., where the late rapper’s simulated voice spit bars about fellow dead emcees Pop Smoke and Nipsey Hussle.

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“We know that it’s a lot of talk about A.I., and we know how the feelings of violating certain things, but let me tell you something,” Timba said before playing the song. “I got a solution, we’re working on it. It’s gonna be beneficial to everybody.”

Two weeks later (May 15), the 51-year-old producer finally unveiled his idea. In an exclusive interview with Forbes, Timba proclaimed that he has a start-up venture on the way that will commercialize A.I. by allowing producers and artists to use voice filter technology and assume the voice of any musician dead or alive.

“It’s going to really be a new way of creating and a new way of generating money with less costs,” he said to Forbes. “I’m already here. This is what I’m doing. I’m going to lead the way.”

Although he has not worked out all the kinks, specifically with copyright and revenue-sharing for the artists being copied, Timba asserted that he already has the A.I. voice filter technology ready to go. Along with allowing lesser-known talents to be able to mimic popular acts or “a music legend who’s no longer with us,” Timba explained that the filter can also help already mainstream artists brainstorm collaborations before investing resources into them.

However, not everyone is on board with Timba’s approach. Shortly after the Forbes article came out, Young Guru, an engineer/producer who has primarily worked with Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Kanye West throughout his career, called out Timba for his “dangerous” plan.

“Timbaland, I love you my brother,” Guru wrote on Instagram Thursday (May 18). “You know I do. But this ain’t it. This is dangerous at a basic level and it’s corny. I will be on the side of the Luddites.”

Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images

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