After the Beatles, artificial intelligence (AI) will be used for another monument of music. An animated biopic project of Edith Piaf developed with AI was announced on Tuesday by Warner Music and the singer's heirs.

This "innovative and revolutionary" project, according to the press release, comes as 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of Édith Piaf's death. No release date has yet been set for the 90-minute work, dubbed "Edith." The film is currently "in the final phase of development," said to AFP the entourage of Warner Music France.

The life of Edith Piaf told in a biopic developed with the help of artificial intelligence

— BFMTV (@BFMTV) November 14, 2023

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A "special and touching" experience

The film will be set in Paris and New York between the 1920s and 1960s and will be "narrated by the voice of Piaf". The AI was trained "on hundreds of voice clips and images, some of which are more than 80 years old," the statement said. It will "bring to life Piaf's distinct voice and image to enhance the authenticity and emotional impact of her story."

"It was a special and touching experience to be able to hear Edith's voice again," Catherine Glavas and Christie Laume, the singer's heirs, said in the statement. "The technology made us feel like we were in the room with her."

Inspiring new fans

This biopic promises to be a turning point in the use of AI, which has so far been used to produce pirated versions of more or less successful songs, without the consent of the artists with the reproduced voice. Frank Sinatra's crooner's tone found its way into Coolio's hit "Gangsta's Paradise" and a fake Drake-The Weeknd duet made a lot of noise.

The release at the beginning of November of "Now and Then", an official Beatles track regenerated by AI with the agreement of the rights holders, has reshuffled the cards. Based on a demo recorded in the 1970s by John Lennon, the AI was able to isolate the singer's voice and mix it with recordings of the other musicians. The song was completed and endorsed by the two surviving members, Paul McCartney, 81, and Ringo Starr, 83.

"Édith Piaf is one of the greatest French artists of all time," said Alain Veille, president of Warner Music France. "It's a very delicate balancing act when it comes to combining new technology with heritage artists." With this film, the executive hopes to reach a "whole new audience and inspire a new generation of fans".

  • Édith Piaf
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Biopic
  • Warner
  • Film
  • Singer
  • Tech