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Capitol Records is entering the metaverse with their first AI signee FN Meka Music Business Worldwide reports.

The new artist dropped his first single with Gunna and gaming streamer Clix called “Florida Water.”

The AI rapper was created by virtual record label Factory New with Meka being their first signee. The company’s co-founder, Anthony Martini, explained the process in an interview last year with the publication.

“The old model of finding talent is inefficient and unreliable,” he expressed.

“It requires spending time scouring the internet, traveling to shows, flying to meetings, expending resources all in search of the magic combination of qualities that just might translate into a superstar act. Even with all the money labels devote to finding talent, the success rate is a pitiful 1%. Now we can literally custom-create artists using elements proven to work, greatly increasing the odds of success. Even if we can get to 2% success rate then we’ve doubled the industry standard.”

He continued, sharing he would love to pivot from having a human voice perform the vocals and are in development to having the computer create its own sound for the robot and perform it on words.

“We’ve developed a proprietary AI technology that analyzes certain popular songs of a specified genre and generates recommendations for the various elements of song construction: lyrical content, chords, melody, tempo, sounds, etc. We then combine these elements to create the song,” he explained.

“As of now, a human voice performs the vocals, but we are working towards the ability to have a computer come up with and perform its own words – and even collaborate with other computers as “co-writers.” Anyone that has kids knows the future is virtual, and Factory New is creating celebrities for that world. TikTok has been an amazing platform for us. In less than a year, we’ve gained over 9 million followers which have led to a ton of opportunities from brand partnerships to artist collaborations.”

Story Update:

Capitol Records Severs Ties With A.I. Rapper FN Meka, Apologizes to Black Community for “Insensitivity”

Capitol Music Group on Tuesday said it had “severed ties” with the A.I. rapper FN Meka after facing pushback from activist groups and observers that the virtual rapper was a stereotypical caricature of Black artists.

“CMG has severed ties with the FN Meka project, effective immediately,” a Capitol Music Group spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. “We offer our deepest apologies to the Black community for our insensitivity in signing this project without asking enough questions about equity and the creative process behind it. We thank those who have reached out to us with constructive feedback in the past couple of days — your input was invaluable as we came to the decision to end our association with the project.”

Earlier this month, Capitol Records announced it had signed FN Meka and was releasing a single, “Florida Water,” with the artist Gunna and the gaming streamer Cody “Clix” Conrad. The signing marked Capitol Records’ first major deal with a virtual artist, which was co-created by Anthony Martini and Brandon Le, who are behind the company Factory New, which specializes in creating virtual music artists.

But in an open letter shared earlier on Tuesday, the activist group Industry Blackout — which represents a group of Black industry professionals — described the FN Meka project as being a “direct insult to the Black community and our culture” by being an “amalgamation of gross stereotypes [and] appropriative mannerisms that derive from Black artists, complete with slurs infused in lyrics.”

The group called on Capitol Records to cut ties with the FN Meka project, issue a public apology and redirect all money spent by Capitol Records and Factory New on FN Meka toward organizations supporting Black youth in the arts and toward marketing Black artists signed with Capitol Records.

As of Tuesday afternoon, FN Meka’s artist page on the Capitol Records website — as well as the initial press release announcing the virtual rapper’s signing — have been taken down. A CMG spokesperson also confirmed to THR that the “Florida Water” single, which was released on the Capitol Records label, has been removed from all streaming platforms.

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