Fake AI-generated Frank Ocean songs sold for $13,000 by scammer 

An online user under the name of ‘Mourningassassin’ sold tracks for prices between $3,000-$4,000 each

Frank Ocean

Image: Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images

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A scammer has sold fake AI-generated tracks which they credited as belonging to Frank Ocean for a total of $13,000.

The scammer, who used the name ‘Mourningassassin’, sold fake “leaked” Ocean songs via Discord on a fan forum, with songs selling for prices ranging $3,000-$4,000 (CAD).

The scam was investigated by Motherboard (Vice), revealing that his profits totalled at £13,000 before he was halted by moderators.

Gamma, the owner of the Discord server that put an end to his scam, declared: “We determined just about everything he [Mourningassassin] has is fake,” in a server-wide announcement earlier this month (May).

Mourningassassin told Motherboard they hired a musician to create around nine fake Frank Ocean tracks using a model made with “very high quality vocal snippets” of Ocean’s voice, to bring the tracks to life.

They also claim that one of the tracks is genuine, which they leaked initially as a way to build their credibility and trust to be able to then sell their AI fakes successfully in the Discord community. This has not been verified by Ocean himself.

Ocean has not released an album since 2016’s Blond, though he played a highly-anticipated set at the first weekend of Coachella Festival last month, which was his first concert in nearly six years. However, the festival’s livestream of the set was called off at the last minute, and Ocean went on stage an hour late. The set was then cut short due to curfew.

AI technology continues to leave many on the fence, debating if it can ever truly be used ethically in the music industry. Universal Music Group requested that streaming services block AI companies from accessing songs from its catalogue to “train” their AIs just last month. Meanwhile, artists such as Grimes and David Guetta are encouraging the use of AI.

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