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BT’s SoundLabs, UMG Team to Clone Artist Vocals with AI

UMG will allow its artists to create vocal models of themselves for their own exclusive use via SoundLabs' AI technology, MicDrop.

umg, soundlabs, universal music group logos

Santa Monica, CA (June 20, 2024)—Universal Music Group has entered into a strategic agreement with AI tech company SoundLabs, led by producer/artist BT, to enable UMG artists and producers to create vocal models of its artists. The cloned vocals would be based on the artists’ own voice data; the UMG artists’ custom vocal models will be available for their exclusive creative use cases, and not available to the general public.

The vocals would be created using SoundLabs MicDrop, a real-time (AU, VST3, AAX) AI vocal plug-in due to be publicly launched later this year. The plug-in reportedly will do more than merely copy a voice, allowing users to do voice-to-voice, voice-to-instrument and speech-to-singing transformations, as well as language transposition and more.

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While SoundLabs founder BT is best known for his work producing and remixing David Bowie, Madonna, Sting, Death Cab for Cutie, Peter Gabriel, and Seal, he’s been involved in audio plugins like Stutter Edit, BreakTweaker (iZotope), Polaris, and Phobos (Spitfire Audio), among others. As a result, his software products are said to have generated more than $70 million USD in gross sales. Also on the SoundLabs team are veteran software developers Joshua Dickinson and Dr. Michael Hetrick of Unfiltered Audio. SoundLabs reports that MicDrop will be the first in a suite of AI audio tools and services from the company.

Regarding the strategic agreement, Chris Horton, SVP, Strategic Technology at Universal Music said, “UMG strives to keep artists at the center of our AI strategy, so that technology is used in service of artistry, rather than the other way around.  We are thrilled to be working with SoundLabs and BT, who has a deep and personal understanding of both the technical and ethical issues related to AI. Through direct experience as a singer and in partnership with many vocal collaborators, BT understands how performers view and value their voices, and SoundLabs will allow UMG artists to push creative boundaries using voice-to-voice AI to sing in languages they don’t speak, perform duets with their younger selves, restore imperfect vocal recordings, and more.”