The inside of a school bus. Two students, a brown-skinned boy with a cropped hair cut and a girl with big red curly hair, are seen from the back.

Does AI have a place in the music industry? At least one label seems to think so.

The record label Sub Pop told the Los Angeles Times that the music video for “The Hardest Part,” a single release on May 2 by the artist Washed Out, is the first collaboration between a major music artist, filmmaker, and OpenAI’s Sora text-to-video generator. It is also the longest video yet created using AI.

The creative team behind the video says that Sora made it possible for them to create something sweeping in scale without blowing their budget (the total cost of the video has not been disclosed). Access to Sora, which is not yet available to the general public, was provided to video director, Paul Trillo, free of charge. Over the course of six weeks, he edited together 55 clips that he selected from the estimated 700 that Sora produced from his text prompts.

“A lot of music videos just don’t have the budgets to really dream big,” Trillo told the Los Angeles Times. “I think AI can help the music industry in terms of creating things that even Ernest could dream of that maybe he wouldn’t have dared to dream before.”

But not everyone in the music industry is so supportive of incorporating the technology across the industry. Last month, more than 200 artists signed a letter calling for stronger regulation of AI tools in music. Signatories included names like Billie Eilish, J. Balvin, and the estates of Bob Marley and Frank Sinatra.

While the music video for “The Hardest Part” may be the first official collaboration with Sora, several Korean pop acts have already employed similar technology to produce creative work. On April 24, group Seventeen released a teaser for a (human-made) music video that intentionally employed AI-generated clips to comment on the use of AI across the industry. A title card asked, “In our current reality where anything can be created with AI, who is the real maestro?”

A day before that, on April 23, group RIIZE released what they claimed was an “AI Generated Visualizer” for their single “Impossible.” Comments on the video made clear that fans were unimpressed with the choice. “It’s not too late to delete this,” read one. “With all due respect to RIIZE, I hope this doesn’t happen ever again,” read another.

Viewers of “The Hardest Part” appear similarly unimpressed. “The more you look at it the worse it gets,” said one commenter. Another summarized their feelings in four words: “The future is underwhelming.”

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