Fake Frank Ocean tracks made with AI were recently passed off as legitimate leaks, netting thousands of dollars in profit for the scammer behind the multi-song operation.
As detailed in a recent Vice and Motherboard report from Joseph Cox, the tracks in question stemmed from someone who worked under the username mourningassasin. Per the report, they initially “hired a musician” to make roughly nine fake Frank songs using an AI model featuring clips of Frank’s voice. A teaser from one of these tracks was shared online in April, immediately generating interest among fans.
Speaking with the outlet, the alleged scammer behind all of this claimed they ultimately managed to make around $13,000 CAD (or just over $9,600 USD) from selling fake Frank tracks that were falsely touted as being unreleased music from the artist whose most recent studio album was released back in 2016.
While the piece focuses on the earliest whisperings of these tracks on Discord, fans will note their widespread sharing across Reddit and beyond in recent weeks, all while divisive coverage continued surrounding Frank’s first-weekend Coachella performance and subsequent cancelation of his planned second weekend slot due to what was described at the time as a leg injury.
Amid the sharing of the purported leaks, several fans began to point out that several of the tracks had indeed been confirmed to have been made using AI, a revelation that clearly came after someone allegedly made thousands of dollars.
Tracks made using AI have become a consistent source of headlines as of late, with a number of artists having responded by publicly speaking out against using such tech in this fashion. Adjacent concerns have also been raised in other creative industries; for example, AI is a key issue in the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike. In short, as has been warned, we can simply can’t trust such tech to be responsibly used—especially by those in positions of power—at this point in our capitalistic hellscape.