AI has been all of the rage lately, and it seems as if it’s finding its way into every topic of conversation. In particular, AI cover songs have become a viral trend that everybody seems to want to take part in.
Unfortunately, the process to create AI cover songs isn’t exactly widely available. Well, you’ve come to the right place, as we’ll provide a walkthrough of this rather simple process.
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The Necessary Disclaimer
Before we begin, it’s important to note that the steps within this guide are not meant to break any copyright laws. Copyright infringement is something that should be taken seriously and you should never create something for profit without permission from the original artists.
With that being said, I (the author) and this website will not be held responsible for any trouble you may get into. We are not encouraging you to commit copyright infringement; if you aren’t sure if it falls under fair use, it’s best to stay away.
Instead, this is meant as a guide to show you how easy it is to create an AI cover song of your own.
What Are Some Popular AI Cover Songs?
If you’re in need of a little inspiration, it never hurts to check out other AI cover songs. Doing so can give you some ideas for what is possible with regard to the results of this process.
In general, AI cover songs are generally meant to be as humorous as possible. However, that’s not to say that AI is only being used to create joke songs; quite the contrary.
Somebody That I Used To Know – Covered By The Beatles
Gotye’s smash hit, Somebody That I Used To Know, received the AI cover treatment by incorporating vocal modules modeled after Paul McCartney and John Lennon. The result is actually quite spectacular, though it isn’t without its glitches.
You’ll notice that, during the higher vocal passages, the AI seems to have a little bit of trouble providing a clean, pure, vocal sound. Instead, it almost sounds as if there is a heavy auto-tune effect.
This is something that you will likely have to accept unless you’re willing to tweak the AI generations to your satisfaction.
Billie Jean – Covered By Mr. Krabs (Spongebob Squarepants)
The characters of Spongebob Squarepants are some of the most popular AI modules to use for vocals. When you hear a cover of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean sung by Mr. Krabs, you’ll immediately know why.
This particular AI cover is a standout example of how well this process works. However, you’ll notice tiny sound artifacts here and there, particularly during the high vocal moments.
It’s AI cover songs like this that have started the wildfire trend that continues to rage across the internet. Considering how ridiculously hilarious this is, you’ll probably want to take a crack at creating your own AI-affected cover songs.
An Overview Of The Steps Involved In Creating An AI Cover Song
As the saying goes, there are multiple ways to skin a cat, and this saying could be applied to the process of creating an AI cover song. The reason for this is that, while the process itself remains the same in a larger-picture view, the programs and methods people use differ based on preference and necessity.
You have to keep in mind that the emergence of AI cover songs is a relatively new thing. Because of this, what might be available one day could be limited or taken off the internet the next.
Providing an overview of the steps involved will allow you to adapt the fine-detail particulars you use to complete the process. To summarize the steps, you will be:
- Removing the vocals from a song
- Keeping the individual tracks from the instrument/vocal split
- Performing any necessary touch-ups on the isolated vocal track
- Applying an AI module to the vocal track
- Combining the isolated instrumental track and AI-module vocal track
Obtaining A Song
If you’re feeling motivated to create an AI cover song, you will first need to decide what song you want to make a cover of. You will need to have an MP3 of your song of choice.
The best way to do this is via an album or song that you have legally purchased on the internet. More often than not, the digital files will already be formatted in MP3 format.
You can also pop a CD into your computer and rip the song to your hard drive. This will likely make a WAV file that you will need to convert into MP3 format.
Again, we are not encouraging you to illegally download songs to your computer. If there is a particular song on YouTube that you wish to use, YouTube’s premium subscription service will often allow you to download videos from the website.
Of course, if you should happen to download a YouTube video, you will add an extra step of needing to isolate the music from the video. Fortunately, this can be accomplished in any DAW or even a video editing program if you have one.
How To Isolate Vocal And Instrumental Tracks Of A Song
Now that you’ve chosen the song you wish to make a cover of, you will need to create 2 separate tracks from the same song. One of these tracks will be the instrumental music, with the other being the vocals only.
There are a few ways of going about this, with the way you wish to proceed depending on preferences related to convenience and control. As you might guess, going for the convenient route will sacrifice control in how each of these tracks sound, which will affect the overall, final result.
For the convenient method, you can use a web-based tool, such as X-Minus Pro. This completely free tool uses AI to render the isolated tracks and was intended to allow users to create karaoke songs.
Using X-Minus Pro is a breeze. Simply upload the song you want to render into the designated area and select whether you want to keep or remove any background vocals that might be present in the recording.
After a few moments, the AI will have rendered your song into 2 tracks, both of which you will need to download. This can be done by clicking the “DL Inst.” and “DL Vocals” buttons.
Now, for most instances, X-Minus Pro’s free tool will be more than enough for a simple cut-and-dry AI song. This is especially true if the song you’re isolating vocals from doesn’t have much harmonization or effects.
However, in the event that you need a little more control, you can use dedicated vocal-removing software. A free, open-source solution for this is the Ultimate Vocal Remover program, available for all operating systems.
This program is fairly easy to work through if you follow its guide, with the Kim Vocal 2 module generally being the best MDX-Net module for isolating vocals. Again, the process is pretty much the same, just select the song file, where you want the processed files to save, and be sure to select MP3 as the outputted format.
The benefit of using something like Ultimate Vocal Remover is that you can take the isolated vocals and process them again if the initial processing produced less-than-desirable results.
How To Apply An AI Module To An Isolated Vocal Track
Now that you’ve isolated the vocals from the instruments, it’s time to get to the fun part of the process. Again, there are multiple ways of doing this, and what may be available today could be totally different tomorrow.
For that reason, we’ll highlight 2 different ways, with one being convenient and the other being more hands-on. Like the previous step, convenience does sacrifice granular control over specific parameters.
By far the easiest and most convenient way to add an AI module to the vocal track is by visiting a website like Musicfy. When using the “Parody” tool, you can upload your isolated vocal track and select a particular AI voice in the associated drop box.
Once you have selected your AI voice, it’s time to hit the “Remix” button to generate your result. When your vocal track has been processed, you can then download the file to your computer, just be sure to name it accordingly.
The In-Depth Method
If you’re looking for something more in-depth, you will want to use an AI GUI, such as the one in this Google Collab. Going this route will require you to have your own AI modules, but links to these things can be found all over the internet.
Using this specific Collab, you’ll be guided through the process, which will require you to install the GUI into the window. You can do this by pressing the button that looks like a play button.
After that, you will need to provide a link to the particular AI module that you wish to use for the cover song. Once you have that, simply paste it in the URL area in the Step 2 section entitled “Download The Model”, and click the play button to complete the download.
From there, you will need to upload the isolated vocal track that you created from the song of your choosing. This can be done on the side panel of the Google Collab page.
After the model from Step 2 of the Collab page has been downloaded, you will move to Step 3, which starts the GUI. Click the play button and once a public URL is produced, you’ll have completed the step.
However, before you click the link, make sure you find your uploaded song on the side panel. Right-click the file and copy its path, as you will need to input it into the GUI.
Once you have done that, you’ll paste the song’s path into the designated area. After that, all that is left is some fine-tuning and tinkering with settings to produce your desired result.
With this, you can choose to have the vocals transposed to a specific key, which can be helpful if the AI module doesn’t handle the originally sung notation very well. There are several pitch extraction algorithms to choose from as well, all of which have descriptions so you know what you’re getting into.
When you’re ready to render the vocals, simply click on the “Convert” button and your result will be generated. You will want to download this to your computer once you’ve generated a result that you’re happy with.
Combining And Finishing The AI Cover Song
Once you have completed the render of the vocals affected by the AI module of your choosing, it’s time to combine it with the instrumental track. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is by using a DAW (recording software).
If you don’t have a DAW program, open-source or free DAWs such as Audacity or REAPER are more than suitable enough. The pictures in this step will be taken from REAPER, which I use on a regular basis for recording and production.
To combine the 2 tracks, you’ll need to open up the DAW and create 2 new tracks within the program. From there, drag and drop both the instrumental track and the AI-affected track into the program, with each file put into its own track.
Because each of these tracks will be the same length in time duration, there is no need to make any positioning adjustments. In other words, the vocals will appear at the correct time within the context of the instrumental.
From there, you’ll need to export the project as its own track, which will have completed the process of creating an AI cover song. To do this in REAPER, you need to click on “File”, then click on the “Render…” option.
This will open a dialogue box that gives you some options such as:
- Where you want the song to be saved
- What you want the file to be titled
- What format you wish the song file to be in
Once you’ve completed the rendering process, you’re essentially home-free and have made your own AI cover song. This rendering process is similar to Audacity, though the specifics are a tad different.
In Audacity, you’ll want to click on the “Export Audio…” button under the “File” section of the menubar. From there, you’ll name the file, select the file format, and choose where you want it to be saved.
Many people wish to upload their AI cover songs to social media platforms and YouTube. Because of this, it can be almost easier to complete the combining of tracks in a video editing program.
Doing this process in a video editor is essentially the same as the DAW method, as both tracks will line up automatically. However, this has the added convenience of letting you create a video for the song at the same time.
However you wish to do it, once you’ve combined the tracks and saved it as a file, you’re done! If you’ve followed the steps in this guide, you’re probably a little shocked at how easy this entire process actually is.
How To Make An AI Cover Song, Final Thoughts
AI cover songs can actually provide a unique opportunity for smaller artists who want to get their music heard. If you have written a song with catchy lyrics, having the song sung by a cartoon character could make it go viral. Just make sure you're not infringing on anyone's copyright.
Just remember, there’s a fair chance that the specific steps in this article could be obsolete depending on circumstances beyond your control. In that event, just refer back to the steps provided in the overview so you can adapt as needed.