K-pop giant Hybe is turning to artificial intelligence for its new artists, capable of releasing albums in six languages simultaneously.
Midnatt is the alter ego of Lee Hyun, who has been with Hybe since 2005 latest singleMasquerade is simultaneously available in Korean, English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese. The collaboration is one of the first between Hybe and Hybe Interactive Media (IM). The label used technology from Supertone, an AI speech synthesis company acquired by Hybe.
Supertone can accurately reproduce a singer’s voice while allowing technicians to tweak it as needed. Every element of what makes a voice sound can be adjusted by audio engineers. Supertone makes multilingual tracks sound like they’re being sung by a native speaker by swapping Midnatt’s voice data with a native speaker of the same song. From there, an engineer hand-mixes the two voices to ensure the emotional presence of the other language translations mimics that of the original Korean title.
The abilities of this AI even allowed midnight to present his own track with a female voice. “Supertone’s tool can produce high-quality content with almost zero errors, compared to other tools that often produce distorted sounds depending on the pitch range,” adds Choi Jin-woo, producer of Masquerade.
Supertone doesn’t license the technology to the general public, so it can’t be used to create celebrity singer mashups like the Drake/The Weeknd track that went viral on TikTok. But Hybe is exploring new ways to distinguish real voices from those created by synthetic means.
“Having been in the music industry for some time now, I hope my approach to this challenge will have a significant impact on other artists, just as Neil Armstrong’s journey left a lasting impression.”
Releasing a song in six languages simultaneously could help Hybe continue to appeal to a global audience while BTS goes on hiatus. Its members are currently doing their military service in South Korea.