Two weeks ago, Capitol Records made the decision to sign an artist to their label. Label does what label does, you might say. Which is true – but what was unusual in this case was that the artist they’d signed wasn’t actually a real person. It was a robot, powered by artificial intelligence.
Yes, we kid you not. Apparently fed up of artists complaining they don’t get paid enough by the majors, they’ve seemingly decided to start signing robots instead – which will just accept whatever terms they’re told to. It’s the equivalent of a light on your car’s dashboard telling you there’s a problem with the brakes and responding by taking the bulb out.
But given the roots of rap music in the black community, there were many who saw the signing of a robot onto the label as downright offensive. Industry Blackout were particularly vocal, saying “We find fault in the lack of awareness in how offensive this caricature is. It is a direct insult to the Black community and our culture. An amalgamation of gross stereotypes, appropriative mannerisms that derive from Black artists, complete with slurs infused in lyrics.”.
They subsequently described this “digital effigy” as a “careless abomination and disrespectful to real people who face real consequences in real life. For example, Gunna, a Black artist who is featured on a song with FN Meka, is currently incarcerated for rapping the same type of lyrics this robot mimics. The difference is, your artificial rapper will not be subject to federal charges for such.”.
Somehow, no one at Capitol Records – a company with over 1500 employees, an income of about $900million per year and 80 years in the business – could work out there would be an inevitable backlash to signing a robot rapper to their label. Yet after less than two weeks, FN Meka has now been dropped – whatever that means in this context.
Remember that the majors would have you believe they’re led by the best people in the music industry – and yet they still manage to make completely avoidable cock-ups like this. Ears To The House is beginning to think they’re not as clever as they think they are…