First major AI music video divides fans: "creepy" or "artistic leap"?

Yesterday Indie pop artist Washed Out (Ernest Greene, who did the Portlandia theme song) released what The Los Angeles Times calls "the first collaboration between a major music artist and filmmaker on a music video using OpenAI's Sora text-to-video technology." The four-minute video for his new song, "The Hardest Part," depicts a stylized narrative of a couple's life journey — all without using any real actors or filming on location.

According to the article, director Paul Trillo was able to generate the entire video using Sora's AI system by inputting detailed text prompts. "Not having the limitations of budget and having to travel to different locations, I was able to explore all these different, alternate outcomes of this couple's life," Trillo told the Times.

While excited by the artistic possibilities, Greene admitted initial hesitancy about using AI: "I feel like with my music and most of the videos I've made over the years, it always starts from like a real emotional, sincere place." However, Greene said he was "blown away" by what Trillo achieved through experimentation with Sora's technology.

Both Greene and Trillo see potential for AI as a tool to expand what's possible for music videos without huge budgets. Trillo said, "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."

The comments on the Washed Out subreddit towards the AI-generated video are mixed. While some praised the technological achievement and artistic vision, others felt it crossed an uncomfortable line or came across as soulless:

"I get that it's exploring new technology, but there's something that feels really off about this to me. Music videos are one of the last creative outlets for humans in the mainstream music industry." – /u/indiejoshuasilva

"Yeah this video is pretty creepy ngl. The technology is cool but the execution makes my skin crawl a bit." – /u/paartalitors

"This is such an artistic leap forward! Love seeing Washed Out continuing to innovate." – /u/robotboy1206

"Absolutely mind-blowing use of this new AI technology. A pioneering artistic statement." – /u/mcmacmac

"I don't get the appeal personally. It comes across as very sterile and devoid of genuine human emotion to me." – /u/st4rl3

"Kinda crazy to think we're watching the first major music video made entirely through AI. The future is here!" – /u/synnaxian

I'm on the side of the folks who are creeped out by the uncanny valley vibe. Kudos Greene and Trillo for trying a new tool that isn't fully baked, but I started to get bored by the lack of novelty about 15 seconds in and I started feeling queasy after a minute be the endless racing-through-a-tunnel effect. I have do desire to watch it again.

Previously: Everyone in this video is AI generated