Capitol Records has signed an AI-powered virtual rapper named FN MEKA. He’s already released his first single for the major label called ‘Florida Water’; listen to it below.
The “robot rapper”‘s deal is the first of its kind for the major label, according to Music Business Worldwide. Capitol Records claims FN MEKA is the “No.1 virtual being” on TikTok, eyeing his 10 million followers on the platform, and says he’s the first “AR artist” to sign with a major label.
The new signing was reported by Music Business Worldwide last week, the same day FN Meka dropped his first single for the label: a song called ‘Florida Water’ that also features (real life) rapper Gunna and gaming streamer Clix. It was produced by Turbo, whose past credits have included songs with Travis Scott, Young Thug and Lil Baby.
‘Florida Water’ features human rapper Gunna and Fortnite streamer Clix and was produced by Turbo and DJ Holiday. (In a 2021 interview with MBW, the cofounder of Factory New, the company behind FN MEKA said, “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.” Little else is known about the vocalist.) The track is available for YouTube and Twitch creators to use “without monetization or takedowns” as Capitol has made a royalty-free partnership with music startup Slip.stream.
Capitol Music Group executive Ryan Ruden told MBW this deal “meets at the intersection of music, technology and gaming culture” and described it as an “evolution of Capitol Records’ 80-year history of innovation”
FN MEKA’s first released music in 2019, the ‘Moonwalkin’ and ‘Internet’ singles.
On the song, FN delivers verses like, “Tesla, Gucci, Cybertruck / I wreck that shit, don’t give a fuck.” Though the vocals are performed by a real human being, those lyrics have apparently been generated by AI, according to its creators.
Listen to ‘Florida Water’.
FN Meka was created by Factory New, a “virtual” record label who were the first to “sign” FN. The company’s co-founder, Anthony Martini, explained the company’s process to MBW last year, saying they had created AI technology that analyses popular songs from specific genres. Based on that, he said, the technology generates suggestions for the building blocks of new songs such as “lyrical content, chords, melody [and] tempo”.
Martini said the company then combined those elements to make a song. “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’.” It’s not clear who the human voice performing the vocals who says ‘Florida Water’, is.